The small ship in Sea of Thieves brings its own set of challenges and dangers to the game – you will undoubtedly have a smaller crew than the bigger galleons and so may find it difficult to fight back against invaders who wish to steal your treasure. Not to mention the burdens of having to manage the ins and outs of the ship either solo or in a pair.
Even with its challenges, learning how to manage and sail the sloop in Sea of Thieves can be quite rewarding and can teach you how to better manage the seas.
The sloop is designed to be easily managed by a solo pirate or a duo of salty dogs. The control for the rigging, capstone and wheel are all a couple steps apart, making it easy to reduce speed, steer and stop whereas it would be impossible if the setup was similar to the galleon.
Managing the sloop alone teaches you every part of the ship in a way that operating as part of a crew on a galleon doesn’t. You start to pick up on little intricacies when managing the sloop, from the subtle click when steering that alerts you to the fact that you have straightened up, or how to use the sail length and sail angle to maximise the use of the wind to your advantage.
Getting a hang of the sail adjustments can lead to incredibly smooth sailing, especially when navigating into a port, or through treacherous waters like Shipwreck Cove where finesse is required to get through unscathed. With fine control of the rigging, you are given more options when faced with an immediate obstacle, for example, a massive stone structure that you are getting blown into. Instead of simply turning, you can take down the sail, turn the ship and drop the capstone causing your ship to rip to the side. Options. Then, since you handled that well on your own or in a duo, it becomes reflexive when you encounter that situation on a galleon, or even again on the sloop.
Speaking of scathed and unscathed the sloop also provides a bit of a challenge where combat is involved as it can be hard going against a four crew galleon by yourself or as a pair. For one, you have only got a total of two cannons to utilise not to mention it becomes decidedly harder to repair the hull, fire the cannons and evade enemy fire all by yourself.
This is where the tricks learned with the sail, as well as the small size of the sloop can come in handy, enabling you to finely tweak your sailing technique or pass through areas that a galleon would surely break apart in. Knowing how to adjust the sail to maximise the wind is quite important when sailing solo as you want to keep as much distance as possible.
One of my favourite things to do when getting hunted and making a chest run to an outpost is to fully unfurl the sail then when getting close to the outpost bringing the sail back to half or a quarter then dropping the capstone rapidly. As long as you have the sloop turned slightly towards the outpost the bow should swing towards it (at least in my experience) allowing you to make use of the bowsprit (the pointy thing at the front) and get a bit more initial distance.
Sailing on Sea of Thieves is a lot more fun with a group of friends, or even with randoms but the experience of sailing on the sloop will, in my opinion, make you a better sailor, a better pirate and a more formidable force on the ocean. Even if it is just for a little while, definitely sail on the small ship and feel the joy of manipulating and outsailing galleons.