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Valheim Raft Controls | How to sail the boat

Viking survival game Valheim is a complex beast. Getting to grips with developer Iron Gate’s new Steam Early Access release takes time, partly due to the regular introduction of new gameplay mechanics. One of these is sailing the raft to cross bodies of water, though how to captain the makeshift vessel isn’t immediately clear. With that in mind, here are the Valheim raft controls on PC.

How do you control the raft in Valheim?

Valheim raft controls

Crafting a raft in Valheim can be a proud moment. Immediately failing to sail it, on the other hand, is pretty embarrassing. To help players improve at being a ship captain, here’s how the raft works in Valheim and a full list of sailing controls.

Valheim raft controls list

  • W key — Move the raft forward.
    • Tab once to row slowly.
    • Press the W key a second time for half sail.
    • A third press fully unfurls the sails.
  • S key — Slow the raft down, reverse when stationary
    • Think of the S key as a way to backtrack the above steps.
    • For example: If at full sail, one press will reduce the raft to half sail.
  • A key — Use the rudder to turn the raft left.
  • D key — Turn the raft right using the rudder.

Players can check what state of movement the raft is in by observing its sails in-game, and also by checking the arrows on the HUD.

Most problems with controlling the raft in Valheim stem from the fact that players are trying to sail against the wind. If the wind is blowing headfirst into the front of the raft, pressing W to move forward is actually counterproductive. Unfurling the sails will slow the craft down in this situation, so the best thing to do is just row. Once the wind changes and becomes favourable (blowing from behind), that’s when to unfurl the sails.

Valheim also has controller support, in which case the WASD keys can be switched out for the appropriate direction(s) on the left analogue stick.

Need more Valheim tips and tricks? GameRevolution has is covered, be it a general beginner’s guide or how to survive specific biomes.