How to Solo Skeleton Ships

If you’ve been playing Sea of Thieves’ Cursed Sails update, you’ll know that facing Skeleton Ships is no easy task. You’ll also know that it’s much more manageable with a crew, or multiple ships that form an Alliance.

If you can’t find anyone to crew up with, or haven’t run into any ships that want to form an Alliance, don’t worry! Our guide will help you defeat those Skeleton Ships all completely solo.

How do the Skeleton Ships Work?

To defeat the Skeleton Ships, you must fight them in one of three predetermined locations at a specific time in-game:

The Shores of Plenty – 1st to 30th, North-West of Smuggler’s Bay

The Ancient Isles – 11th to 20th, West of Shark Bait Cove

The Wilds – 21st to 30th, Ease of Marauder’s Arch

So before you go anywhere, check your Pocket Watch and find out which location you’ll need to sail to in order to find the Skeleton Ships.

When you actually arrive at the encounter, you’ll run through the following steps:

  • Skeleton Ships will often spawn in pairs, so you’ll often be fighting 2 at once
  • You’ll face them across 4-5 waves of ships
  • Once you’ve defeated the waves of ships, one final Skeleton Ship will spawn, headed by a named Skeleton Captain (he’ll have a red name above his head)
  • After defeating the Skeleton Captain’s ship, you’ve successfully finished the fight (and another round of waves will begin shortly, so make sure to be quick on collecting the loot)

Tips you should also be aware of include:

  • Skeletons can patch up holes in the hull
  • Skeletons can not bail water from the boat
  • Each Skeleton Ship comes equipped with a Cursed Cannonball – this changes player behaviour upon impact (i.e. makes everybody dance spontaneously, or locks the steering of your boat, etc.)
  • If your Sloop is too close to the Skeleton Ship, they can’t aim low enough to hit you
  • Skeleton Ships should match your ship’s speed and direction (unless there’s an obstacle).

Required Supplies

  • 80-100 Cannonballs
  • 60-70 Bananas
  • 60-70 Wooden Plans
  • 10-15 Gunpowder Barrels
When starting out on your journey, be sure to gather plenty of supplies – this step is incredibly important, because there’s nothing worse than running out of Wooden Planks while your ship takes on cannon fire.

Supplies can, of course, be found dotted around islands through out the map; however, for a more targeted approach to finding Gunpowder Barrels, looting empty Skull Forts are your best bet (they also contain quite a lot of regular supplies as well).
The number of supplies above is a rough estimation of what you may need, and certainly not the be-all-end-all, though it is better to be prepared than not.

Using Gunpowder Barrels to Solo the Skeleton Ships

While there are a few methods you can employ to varying levels of success (such as bailing water onto the Skeleton ship, or planting a Chest of Sorrows on deck until they sink), using Gunpowder barrels will get you the most immediate results.

Make sure that, after the Skeleton Ships breeches the water and starts the encounter, it’s matching your movement and is staying relatively close. From there, put your ship into a turn (left or right doesn’t matter, as long as your sailing path looks clear.

When in range, fire a couple of cannonballs to the deck of the ship to help clear a few skeletons away – then, when it’s near enough, grab one of your gunpowder barrels, swim to the Skeleton Ship, and climb aboard (be sure to be quick ducking below deck, as there’ll be a lot of skeletons on the ship trying to shoot at you).

Once on the lowest deck, you can either:

  • Place the barrel down, retreat to a safe distance, and shoot it; or,
  • Light the fuse and run away

Either way, ensure that you don’t die in the explosion – this gives you enough time to start focusing more on the Skeletons who have spawned to repair the ship. Don’t let them!

Once the water rises enough for you to leave the ship (at the point you know they won’t be able to board it all up), head back upstairs and over to your ship. If necessary, plant a few more cannons in their lower decks for good measure.

Once the first ship sinks, you’re on your way to fulfilling those commendations! From there, there’s only 4 more waves to go, then the boss fight (we did say you’d need a lot of resourve

So there you have it – it may be tedious, and require quite a lot of exploration for prep work, but it’s worth it to be able to handle those Skeleton Ships as a Solo Sloop.

Do you have any other methods that worked for you? Let us know in the comments.

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