The latest major content update for Sea of Thieves has arrived. Cursed Sails are on the horizon and with them comes a host of new story content, limited-time rewards, and permanent additions to the gameplay suite. If you're looking to solve the mystery of Wanda the weaponsmith, Salty the (former) shopkeeper, and why these skeleton ships have appeared — and how to defeat them — we've got you covered. Follow our step-by-step guide to complete Sea of Thieves Cursed Sails while it's ongoing between now and August 21st.

cursed sails guide

Please note that the story content is optional and you need not finish it to fight the skeleton ships, which is different than The Hungering Deep's campaign. Still, it's a fun story that builds on existing lore for the game universe and does offer up some more commendations and Bilge Rat doubloons, so it may well be worth it just for those items. If you only want tips for summoning and defeating skeleton ships, scroll to the bottom of this guide.

Step 1: Speak to Sharon the Shipwright on Golden Sands Outpost

Anyone following the build-up to the Cursed Sails expansion will know Golden Sands was bound to play host to much of the story, and it's there you'll want to speak to Sharon, the hard-of-hearing shipwright. Ask her about Wanda and the Cursed Sails campaign will officially kick off.

Step 2: Visit Wanda's weapon shop on Golden Sands Outpost

Sharon directs you to check out Wanda's now abandoned weapon shop. There you'll find two clues indoors, an amulet on a box on the left, and a note on the table right when you walk in. Turn around to leave and notice the skeleton footprints leading down to the water. Inspect them, your final clue here, to collect your first commendation from the event.

cursed sails guide

Step 3: Head to Crescent Isle and Speak to Salty

Those footprints look like they're headed west by northwest, to the direction of Crescent Isle, so head there next. It's there on the inside shore of the aptly named Crescent Isle where you'll find Salty, a former shopkeeper who has now taken up the form of a skeleton parrot. Why? That's part of the mystery and we won't spoil those details for you. He hints at some locations where he and Wanda were experimenting with new items and to follow her trail, you'll need to find those journals.

Step 4: Find Wanda's three journals

Salty's hints can be a bit mysterious, but long story short, you need to head to Thieves' Haven, Mermaid's Hideaway, and Sunken Grove. On Thieves' Haven, you'll find one journal in front of a tent around the east by northeast side. If you pull into the front of the canopied island, it's just around a bend. On Mermaid's Hideaway, it's in a pretty obvious spot, sitting by a campsite on the shore but near the inland body of water. On Sunken Grove, head into the clearing at the center of the island and you'll find it in a cave nearby. None of them are too hard to find, especially if you know the layout of the locations.

Step 5: Return to Salty on Crescent Isle

With more story details gathered, head back to Crescent Isle and inform Salty of how he became a skellie-bird. He'll then clue you in on where to look for Wanda's base of alchemical mischief.

Step 6: Find Wanda's Lab on Wanderer's Refuge

cursed sails guide

Salty's directions bring you to Wanderer's Refuge, and this time the location you seek is better hidden than the journals. Find the large tunnel around the center of the long island and walk through it. Look for a small opening just behind some rocks and head inside, at which point you'll come upon an impressive laboratory once housed by Wanda. The full details of what she was up to and what you must do about it are at last revealed once you inspect the five items in her lab: the evil pirate code, apron, scroll, tools, and the cannon base.

Step 7: Return to Sharon on Golden Sands Outpost

Head back to Sharon, now with the full sequence of events in mind, and she'll complete your quest and give you a new set of sails free of charge representing that region, The Shores of Plenty. Per her recommendation, you can also visit any outpost in each of the other two seas, The Wilds and The Ancient Isles, to receive two more sets of complimentary sails. They'll help signal to other pirates that you're looking to take on the skellie ships in those regions.

cursed sails guide

How to Summon and Defeat Skeleton Ships

Whether you skipped to this part of the guide or played along with the limited-time campaign, here is where the real highlight of the game update comes into play. Skeleton ships are formidable AI enemies that have left taunting threats at every outpost. They're calling out all pirates to prove their naval supremacy. In each of the three seas, The Wilds, The Ancient Isles, and The Shores of Plenty, a skeleton ship can be summoned. Though skeleton ships are a permanent addition to the game, the next three weeks of the campaign will introduce specific foes that must be defeated before the event ends in order to earn the commendations and doubloons.

To take them on, you must first know where and when they spawn. These locations are subject to change as the event goes on but we'll update this guide if needed. For the opening week, this is the right information. Using your in-game pocket watch, you'll need to determine where it's best to go next. In The Shores of Plenty, skeleton ships will appear between the 1st and the 10th northwest of Smuggler's Bay. If you're in the Ancient Isles, you'll find them west of Shark Bait Cove between the 11th and 20th and if you're in The Wilds, you'll summon them east of Marauder's Arch between the 21st and 30th. Remember, these are in-game days, so use your pocket watch and plan accordingly.

cursed sails guide

Unlike the Meg, there doesn't seem to be any minimum requirements for crew size to take down a skeleton ship, but we highly recommend you use the new alliance feature to invite other crews to fight on your side, the side of the living. To form an alliance, head up to your crow's nest and fly the alliance flag. This will mean anyone who has opted to join your alliance can do so quite simply. You can instead fly the flag to join another pre-existing alliance yourself. Either way, don't go it alone unless you're up for a real challenge. The skeleton ships use the new cursed cannonballs, which can make your crew drunk, drop your anchor at the worst times, or sabotage your best efforts in other ways. More than ever, it's crucial you form a sizeable and reliable team to come out victorious against these Cursed Sails. Good luck!

This game was featured in our Best Xbox MMOs Available in 2018 article. Why not check it out to see what else made the cut?
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He's the Editorial Manager on TA, loves story-first games, and is the host of the community game club TA Playlist. Outside of games he likes biking, sci-fi, the NFL, and spending time with his family. He almost never writes in the third person.