I understand that you do the best on your abilities to make the game more enjoyable and realistic, I agree that players should try to find and kill 1st rates while hunting on Hercs and Snows, beating an L'Ocean in a Snow should not be possible.On the other hand I find some of the changes that were made overshouting what was needed, therefore I would like to point some things I belive will take it to this direction based on my recent experiance on the Testbed server
first of all, masts fall down way too easily from destroying structure. I understand the idea that ships structure keeps the masts together but I belive that in order to demast a ship by hitting its structure you need to hit the masts many times through it. That would need a hitbox under the mast that would have the same, if not more HP than the lower masts section.
2nd, structure damage from bow and stern is too much. I agree with the idea that you cannot be tanking broadsides from a large ship by showing your stern or bow but you shouldnt be able so sink faster that way. And while on a frigate you should be able to lower the incoming damage by showing your bow to an enemy frigate. Sniping the stern of a ship to damage the structure from more than 500 meters should be much harder if not impossible.
I belive that the way game is now, making boarding an other vessel easier would be for the benefit of the combat module. My suggestion is making boarding possible when the relative speed it less than 3.5kn for speeds 0-3.5kn with 0 damage on rigging (that means that If we sail with 3kn in opposite directions you cannot board me), relative speed of 2kn for speeds 3.5kn-7kn with engaging on boarding causing some damage to the rigging of your ship (as stopping the enemy vessel with ropes attached to your rigging will be harmfull for it), and 1kn relative speed for speeds from 7-10kn with great rigging damage. (speed limits are for the faster ship)
I dont write on the forums a lot so, taking the opportunity I would like to comment on something else. Having a lot of crew on a ship should affect the total weight of the cargo as provisions and crew have some mass. there should be a voloum limit as well on ships. It is much easier to fit in a room 100kgs of iron than grain. These changes may seem out of context but I belive that ballancing ships this way would lower the need of doing it through the combat module
lastly, based on the general direction the game is going I would like to suggest that. It is understandable that a skilled player on a very small ship should not be able to take on a new player on a very large vessel, but making the game "largest ship wins" is not enjoyable from anybody and will make frigates more useless than they should be and everybody will be sailing on line ships. I agree that there should be a large andvantage on the large ships side, but not large enough for somebody to be unable to overcome it with his skills as a captain.
I hope my points were valid and I thank you for your time and your hard work, I really think you have done a great job with this game.