How To Use a Raft in Valheim

Valheim is a Viking-inspired game and one of the most popular recent indie titles. As you might imagine, it takes quite a bit after the original lore, including traversing the seas for new lands and conquests. However, players usually don’t start with a grand longship. The first vessel capable of getting you where you need to go will be a trusty raft.

How To Use a Raft in Valheim

In this article, we’ll explain how to build and control the raft in the sea for maximum effect and get you into the next stages of the game.

How To Use the Raft to Sail in Valheim

While it might sound simple, traveling via the raft takes some nuance and skill. The raft has two main sailing components. The rudder controls the movement and angling while the sail picks up any available wind to boost speed. However, if you don’t use the sails optimally, you can slow down to a crawl and stifle your progress.

How to Use the Raft Rudder

Sailing a raft in Valheim is relatively simple. As mentioned above, you can use the rudder to control movement and angling. Here’s a detailed breakdown for more information:

The raft is operated similarly to vehicles in other games. When you’re near the raft, you’ll see a prompt to allow you to hop onto it. If you’re wondering what’s the difference between the two modes of getting into it and want to know how to use the raft ladder, the answer is that there is none. If you press E when near the raft, your character will climb onto the raft either via the ladder or the rudder, whichever is closer.

Raft Sailing Controls

When you enter your raft, you can use the W, A, S, and D buttons to control your movement. Buttons A and D let you swerve left and right, respectively, by moving the rudder in the appropriate direction.

Pressing W once will push you forward only by using the rudder. It is a slow movement but probably one of the best or only options if the wind is going against you.

Pressing W twice or three times will drop down your sails halfway or fully, allowing the raft to pick up any available wind. Using this technique can work against you if the wind is blowing directly into the sails, though. You can use the indicator on the right side of the screen to see the current wind direction. The wind icon tells you where the wind is coming from, and you can turn by using the A or D keys to pick up speed on that side. If the wind is blowing straight from the front, it will likely slow you with sails down, so it’s recommended to put them up for the time being or change course.

If you press the S key, your raft will start inching backward using the rudder movements. It’s almost crawling speed, but it can save you from breaching or getting stuck near coastal rocks.

Sailing Tips

Sometimes, the wind is so powerful and working against the raft that it might be near impossible to get any speed. If you’re on the open sea, it might be better to switch directions and try to zig-zag to your intended destination, using the wind as best as possible to get the most distance.

If you’re near a beach, it’s possible to move the raft manually by shoving it in front of you. It also may be the only way to get into the water if the raft gets breached.

If possible, plan your trips across the sea on days when the wind works with the intended direction. Getting to the other side of the sea against the wind is doable but highly impractical. You may have to resort to going around in a zig-zag pattern or waiting for the most opportune moment to let the sails down.

Additional FAQ

How do I sail against the wind in Valheim?

Sailing against the wind is probably the most complicated when using the raft. The wind effectively creates a no-sail zone that’s roughly 90 degrees wide in its general direction. That means that moving with the sails down in those directions will be almost impossible. To sail against the wind easily, you’ll need to zig-zag:

1. Put your sails down by pressing W twice or three times.

2. Watch at the indicator on the right side to check the direction of the wind.

3. If it’s directly in front of you, you need to swerve so you’re just outside the no-sail zone (the black part of the circle).

4. Once you cover enough ground, swerve to the other side through the no-sail zone, just enough to end up outside of it again.

5. Use steps three and four to move in a zig-zag pattern to reach your destination. The distance covered will be a bit longer than a straight line (roughly 1.41 times longer), but it’s usually faster than traveling without sails.

Depending on the body of water you’re traversing, you can zig-zag often or just once when you’re halfway through the trip. The result stays roughly the same since the distances will match no matter how often you turn. Frequent swerves are preferable when moving through smaller channels since it gives you a better chance of keeping on course.

If you happen to miss or swerve too late, you’ll need to correct the course and alter your plans slightly. In general, sailing against the wind only requires a bit of memorization and timing, and most people will get it right shortly after trying.

Is using a raft the best way to travel?

While rafts are excellent in the early stages when players don’t have access to plentiful resources, they are quite slow, lackluster, and flimsier than the two other boat types. The Karve and the longboat are upgrades over the initial raft design, improving speed, carrying capacity, and seating space.

However, if you’re alone and don’t need to transport goods around, the raft will get you from point A to point B alive. Usually.

How do I build a raft?

Rafts are crafted near the workbench, similarly to any other item. When you get sufficiently close to the workbench, here’s what you need to do.

1. Select the hammer in the inventory screen.

2. Press the F button to switch to the “Misc” tab.

3. Select the raft from the list of boats available.

4. Press the left mouse button to craft it.

To craft a raft, you will need:

· 20 pieces of wood (how you get those is up to you, but we recommend looking at the nearby trees)

· six leather straps (obtainable from boars)

· six resin (can be found from Greylings and Greydwarves, as well as felled birch trees)

Can rafts be attacked in Valheim?

If you’re sufficiently close to the beach, you can get attacked by enemies when piloting the raft. Not all enemies will be affected the same, and some might ignore you due to distance or you being in the water.

Can rafts capsize in Valheim?

With later patches, rafts can’t capsize while sailing. However, strong winds can push the raft over into beaches or rock formations. If you get stuck, you can get out of the raft and push it around.

Sailing the World in Valheim

Although rafts are quite primitive compared to Karve boats and longboats, they are the best option to traverse the seas when you don’t have many resources at the game’s start. Navigating in the water might not be as easy as it first looks, but players should get a handle on the basic controls relatively quickly. After that, it’s all about practice and planning ahead for when the wind moves in your favor.

What is your tactic for sailing in rafts? Let us know in the comments section below.

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