The sea bear’s guide to sloops in Sea of Thieves

During the latest Scale Test, I played a lot of sloop myself and looked at some tips and tricks to improve my gameplay, especially in the PvP parts of the game. It worked out pretty well, so I made this guide to share the most important tips, tricks and maneuvers to become a successful sloop sailor!

This guide will focus on the Sloop and its features, maneuvers and fighting tips as well as the mindset and strategies you need as a solo/sloop player. More detailed guides on things like personal combat can be found in the Guide section on this Website.

General tips & tricks

  • When you are playing sloop you will find yourself at the number disadvantage most of the time. It’s the most unforgiving way to play Sea of Thieves, so be prepared to sink and lose all your chests because one lucky cannonball killed you
  • Start your game by loading your ship up with as many resources from the Outpost you spawned at as possible. You can’t ever have too many cannonballs or planks. The sloop tends to run out of resources very quickly, especially in battles against galleons, so make sure you have enough of them at all times. Empty your inventory before going on an island to make sure you can always pick some things up on the fly
You might not have noticed it, but there are actually two barrels with cannonballs on top of each other, so make sure to fill the bottom one, too!
  • Make sure you know your ship. Take a minute to get used to the locations of everything. You don’t want to run around scrambling to find the cannonballs while a galleon is getting closer and closer
  • Be roughly aware of your position on the map. Too many chases end because you get lost or baited into the red sea.
  • When in doubt, the good old “Ahoy” can work wonders and turn the most menacing pirates into friendly people that just want to have fun playing a video game


  • The sloop is slower than the galleon unless going directly against the wind. Use this knowledge to your advantage
  • Maneuverability is what the sloop excels at. You have a smaller turn radius than the galleon and should be able to evade them in any combat situation
  • Use the sails. I still see way too many players not taking advantage of their Sails. This does not only mean keeping them in the wind as good as possible, but also lifting and lowering them during a fight. Need to make a sharp turn? Turn the steering wheel and then go to the sail and start pulling it up. Let it down again once the turn is finished. Lifting your sails makes your turns way fast and tighter
If you pay attention to your sails and the wind you will already be a step ahead of most other crews
  • Lifting your sail all the way up makes you stop completely. A lot of people seem to think that you still move a little, but once you slow down you stop. Stopping with the sail should always be chosen over using the anchor, as it allows you to turn your ship without moving and to sail on very quickly in emergency situations. Knowing how long it takes for your ship to stop after pulling the sail up is a matter of experience, but taking the time to find out how it works is definitely worth it.
  • If you need to use the anchor to prevent crashing into an island then use it, raise the sail and then pull the anchor up again. You won’t start moving but you are now able to turn your ship in a proper position to get going as fast as possible
  • There are some shortcuts on the sloop that I use frequently:
You can jump from the deck onto the little barrier at the helm and then jump again to grab the ladder on the mast. This allows you to go up to the crow’s nest very quickly
From the Crow’s Nest, you can jump down and grab the side ladder of the ship. This is the fastest way to get down again, but without a lot of practice it will most likely end up with you in the water while the ship sails away. Considering you are playing solo/sloop this is suboptimal. Don’t recommend using this in combat situations. Alternative way to go down quickly is to jump down and grab the ladder on the mast before reaching the ground.
You can grab the side ladder by positioning yourself like I did in the picture. This is more useful than you might think, as most people don’t know about it and it can allow you to surprise an enemy during a boarding situation.
  • You can look at the map without needing to go below deck, just peek over the railing behind the capstan like this:


You can even use your spyglass to zoom in on the map!
  • The steering wheel has one golden handle. You will hear a bump sound when it is at the top. This means that the wheel is centered and you are going exactly straight. The golden handle is at the top in 3 positions: All the way left, dead center and all the way right. Use this to determine which way you are going and set the wheel accordingly before leaving it to shoot cannons or patch holes.
The golden handle helps a lot with keeping a straight course
  • Don’t get stuck on the steering wheel. It is alright to leave it and adjust the sails, shoot the cannons and patch holes. The ship will continue on the course you have set, don’t worry about it too much
  • Turn your lanterns off. There is no need to keep them on and they make your ship a lot more visible because the lights are rendered from a very far distance. Only have them on when you are actively looking for pvp or want to trick people into thinking you are a noob
Make sure to turn all the Lanterns off!
  • Use the crow’s nest when you have nothing else to do. It is a great way to look for ships and other nearby points of interest. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when playing solo
  • Most people have heard of anchor turns by now and they are a great tool, but way less useful on the sloop than on the galleon. I saw way too many people trying to be fancy and anchor-turning in combat, but it really isn’t a good thing to do with the sloop. It leaves you in a vulnerable position where lifting the sail + turning would’ve been the better alternative
  • Use your environment. Luring people into the red sea or into skeleton cannons like near the forts is a viable strategy with devastating effects if done correctly
  • When you stop at an island, first stop with the sails, not the anchor. Then go up to the crow’s nest and have a look around to make sure no ships can surprise you while you are digging for treasure. While on the island, check the surrounding waters from time to time to prevent hairy encounters.
  • Take a look at the map before stopping at an island and determine where the nearest outpost is. Then stop on the opposite side of the island. This will hide you from the views of most crews that are just sailing around. Be ware of skeleton cannons on the islands at all times!

Ship Combat

vs solo Sloop

Fighting against a sloop is very different from fighting against a galleon. Your enemy will be able to adjust to your maneuvers quickly and the sloop doesn’t have many blind spots. This means that the player with the better cannon aim and sail work is already at a huge advantage. Lifting your sails to have a tighter turn radius can be a very big help. Keep track of your opponent, when he goes below deck he isn’t steering the ship, take advantage of that. Ramming is also an option and if you do try to jump on his ship, drop the anchor and kill him. This is very risky, as it leaves your ship damaged and without anyone to repair, as well as making it sail on and possibly crash into an island if you are distracted for too long. Making sure you don’t sink yourself should always take priority over sinking the enemy, so ramming tactics are only recommended to more experienced players that can evaluate whether it will be worth it.

vs duo Sloop

In my opinion the hardest matchup for a sloop. They share your agility but can steer and shoot at the same time, steer and repair at the same time and even shoot and repair at the same time. Always keep track of them, as they might jump in the water and try to board you. Have our blunderbuss ready to one-shot them as soon as they get on the ladder if they do. Try to run from this matchup if you don’t trust in your PvP skills, as you will have to either win through a resource advantage or through boarding them and killing them without sinking yourself. Work on your sails to get an advantage, use your environment and try not to get boarded at all times.

vs Galleon

My favorite matchup. It allows you to show what a good sloop can do to a galleon. However, there are some key things to keep in mind.

  1. Never get too close to a galleon or allow them to ram you
  2. Never stay in a position that allows the galleon to repeatedly fire at you
  3. Don’t let them board you. If they do, respawn, kill them and try to get the anchor up as fast as possible
  4. Staying static through dumb things like unnecessary anchor turns can mean getting broadsided for a few times by 4 cannons. Not a good situation.

If you follow those rules then a fight against a galleon is a lot less scary than it might seem to be. Thre are some tactics which you can use in a fight:

Hit and Run

This is what most of your fights will look like. You try to fire a few shots while maneuvering in a way that will ensure you aren’t in the line of sight of their cannons for a long period of time. If you are in a good position where they can’t hit you but you can hit them, then raise your sails to go slower and get the chance to fire more shots. Fighting a galleon is always very resource-heavy, so keep track of that. As a sloop you have a few strenghts that the galleon doesn’t have and most crews don’t know how to maneuver properly, use that to your advantage. Dance around them and hit them whenever you can to make them sink pretty fast. The sloop isn’t as disadvantaged in this matchup as you might think.

Sneak up on them

If you see a galleon or even a sloop parked somewhere at an island, don’t approach them in a way where they could potentially broadside you. The best way is to find an angle where you can be behind their ship and then raise your sail and turn so you are at a 90-degree angle to their back. This will allow you to shoot at them freely without having to worry much about your position while they will have to repair and raise the anchor without doing any harm to you. In case they get moving just drop your sail and you are mobile again.

Board them

very risky, should not be used if you have anything to lose. It’s a very situational tactic and hard to write down in a guide. It can be the correct thing to do and it can be the worst thing to do. Experience will tell you when to board people and when not to.

Boarding them with an explosive barrel

Take a barrel, sneak onto their ship then go to the lowest deck and explode the barrel. Defend the holes in their ship with your life. Has a pretty high success rate and is surely one of the most fun ways to sink a galleon.

Useful Maneuvers

By Zagwitz
By Zagwitz

These 2 graphics explain very efficient ways to evade or escape a galleon. They allow you to use the strengths of the sloop to outmaneuver your opponent. Thanks a lot to Zagwitz for allowing us to use them in this guide.


Thanks a lot for reading!

We will be adding to this guide as we find more tips, tricks, and maneuvers. Did it help you with your sloop gameplay? Do you like the format? What other guides would you want to see? Tell us in the comments down below or join our Discord to find cool people to play with!

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