Set commodity weights (sheep, furs, cotton, etc) to 1/4 of what they are currently, and leave everything else the way it is.
Barrels can remain a risk-free starter activity, and big-time traders can start taking risks on long hauls with large payloads (using the new wind mechanics as well, leading to ambush points, etc.)
At least here in US, it's all short hop barrel trading up the coast, so wind doesn't really help anybody but the gankers.
We caught a Russian running gold from the opposite corners of the map last night to apparently make 800k profit in 3 hours (not enough for a sail like that, IMO). A few of our guys ruined their night (sorry man). But grabbing those gold-laden ships and escorting them into port had everybody buzzing and having fun.
Commodity trading needs to be compelling and lucrative (mid-to-endgame activity), and can be made as such with a single change to the game's config files. 25lb commodities (vs. current 100lb). There's just no real way currently to get the volume you'd need for a worthwhile profit, even in 4x indiamen. Let us carry more stuff and everything starts to work better.
Add in aggressive NPCs later on, with players setting ambushes at wind zones, and you've got yourself a risky, deep, (and most of all, FUN) trading endgame on your hands:
-Hiring your buddies as escorts for a cut of your profit
-Paying off that pirate/privateer that just tagged you since they can't carry all that cargo back themselves
-Clan-wide trade convoys
-Regular trade routes
-And more hilarious schemes that I haven't cooked up yet