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Granted, I was a late bloomer in learning even the basics of sailing. My cannon skill was at the maximum for basic access when I discovered I could fire cannons without leaving the steering wheel. Despite this, I now believe that Sailing is the most important of any skill in the game. Should you lose your cutlass, you'll still be able to get from island to island, yet without a sturdy ship, you're stuck on Tortuga, mate!
In this guide, I will tell you about all the different ways in which you can use your sailing skills, for there be a few different tactics for each of them. I will walk you from your first voyage to becoming a master sailor, so if you want to acquire an ill-gotten cargo hold full of Royal Chests and ship materials, you're in the right place.
What a Ship Needs
The Sail Health is also very important, because if you lose all your masts, you'll end up dead in the water, literally! Your ship's current speed is indicated by an arrow moving along the yellow bar. Once you lose one of your masts, you'll notice that you aren't able to move as quickly. Should you be unlucky enough to lose all of them, you won't be able to move at all and you'll have to repair (if you don't sink first). You can use this to your advantage if you shoot down all your enemy's sails before you sink them. It may be quicker to shoot their hull, but shooting at the sails has gotten me a few Famed weapons, so shoot at the sails if you're not pressed for time. I don't have much advice for fighting bounty hunters, but if you shoot all their sails without sinking them, more bounty hunters won't come until they sink (or you do).
What a Ship is
Having a ship means having the freedom to travel to any island you wish. It also gives you the freedom to attack any Navy or EITC vessel whose cargo strikes your fancy, along with the power to combat Jolly Roger at sea. It allows you to command a crew of up to twelve as you plunder the best loot you can. There are a few things you should know before going out there. They can be found below.
On a ship, you shouldn't hear landlubber words such as "left" or "right". Instead, you'll hear words like "port" and "starboard". The following is a list of the most important words you'll need to know in order to plunder the most gold.
- Bow - The front of the boat. Memorize this one first as most of the others are somehow related to the bow.
- Stern/Aft - The back of the boat, opposite the bow. If you shoot the stern of a ship, you'll do greater damage.
- Hull - The body of the boat. If you lose your ship armor, your hull will be at risk, so get repairing.
- Port - The "left side" of the boat. Port is always to the left of the bow, regardless of which way you are facing. When you use "Left Broadside" you are firing from the Port side of your ship.
- Starboard - The "Right side" of the boat. Starboard is always to the right of the bow, regardless of which way you are facing. When you use "Right Broadside" you are firing from the Starboard side of your ship.
Begining to SailMounting a cannon can serve you well, but if you want to sink a Behemoth or a Death Omen, you'll need to be able to fire a lot of shot at once. That's where broadside cannons come in. To fire a broadside, mount the steering wheel and use either "Left Broadside" or "Right Broadside". It is helpful if you think about the sailing terms (Port and Starboard). Start sinking enemy ships in this way and your sailing skill will begin to level up. Once you have enough gold (which shouldn't take you very long), make sure you get something a little more powerful than a light sloop. I chose the Light Galleon because back then it was the only other ship available to basic access. Below, I will list the types of ships which can be bought. I might as well do this now as you'll need to choose one of these types as soon as possible.
Firstly, the sloop is the least powerful ship in the game. Some players believe the sloop to be useless and sell it when they have enough gold for another ship. While I do not recommend plundering in a light sloop, it does have its advantages. You'll find that sailing from one island to another is much quicker in a light sloop than in any other ship. Also, the sloop has become a favorite of privateers, because of its speed and compact size (which makes it quite difficult to hit).
Because of a sloop's low armor, you should probably do your plundering in a different boat, but if you're trying to ace SvS or get to Tormenta in a hurry, the sloop is a useful ally.
Concerning offense, the Galleon is a formidable foe and a powerful ally. Although it lacks the abundant on-deck cannons of a frigate, it possesses superior broadside cannons, making it ideal for "flying solo". When a ship's boarding permissions are set to Public, it can sometimes take a while to fill up. While you wait, you can use your broadside cannons to attack a few ships and get some loot. As the cargo increases, more will come to profit from your raids, making you quite wealthy indeed.
If you have a taste for loot, the galleon is your best choice. It is the best ship when it comes to obtaining wealth, so as long as speed isn't your priority, it's a safe bet.
It is also the best ship to have when using the Ramming Speed skill to ram the enemy, yet the frigate does have a fatal weakness. While the frigate is fast and maneuverable, it cannot shoot directly behind, so if you position your ship directly behind it, you can shoot at its stern without much resistance. You'll doo a lot more damage too, for frigates lack armour at the stern. If you circle it as it turns and match every attempt to put you within it's line of fire, you'll be able to defeat it with little damage to your own ship. In conclusion, Frigates are good for people who have lots of friends to man the cannons, or if you favor ramming your opponent to splinters, so I would definitely consider buying one.
BrigThe Black Pearl or The Queen Anne's Revenge. It is second best at everything and is a great ship for people who don't want to be at any great disadvantage. It is quite well rounded, having no weaknesses in armor, or quite possibly anything else. This section is small as it is difficult to find easy ways to take a brig down, both because it doesn't appear as an enemy outside of SVS, and because there are very few weaknesses to exploit. My advice to you is to, instead of playing to the brig's weaknesses, play to your own strengths, those of both your ship and your crew. Had I a free spot for a new ship, I would choose the brig in a second, so if you are looking for a ship, give the brig a try.
Begining to Sail (continued)
By now, you should know which kind of ship you want, or you may wish to get three different ships to further increase your plunder. Whatever your choice, you'll need to know how to handle a ship without taking too much damage.