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I have yet another question. I understand the different sorts of cannonballs. But isn't the goal to sink the ship. So why not just focus on hull damage?
And how does hull damage take place. Do you first have to pierce the armor of a certain part of the ship and then fire at that part (red part on the diagram of the ship) before the hull takes damage?
That would explain a lot why you have to focus on damaging sails or crew. If you only can hit green parts that turn, it may be wiser if you attack the way the ship can maneuver so you can easier take position to attack the red part.
I hope you understand what I mean. I just take the words of my native language and put them in an English sentence.
But isn't the goal to sink the ship. So why not just focus on hull damage?

Generally focusing on hull damage is the way to go. But there are plenty of reasons why you might not want to; I'll list out some of them to give you some ideas:

1) You will need to inflict 4470 points of damage on a typical Vanguard port or starboard side to sink it (2640 hull + 1830 armor). However, you only need to do 2652 points of sail damage to immobilize it. A ship is useless if you can stay outside of its arcs of fire.

2) If you're fighting a line battle, you might be able to immobilize the front ship of their line in one round of fire you can seriously impede the mobility of their line.

3) Any ship which is immobilized can be boarded and captured, to be used by you against your opponent.

4) Most of the missions work on Victory Points; the player with the most Victory Points at the end wins. Your VP are calculated by adding the config total of each ship you get the kill shot on or capture + half of the config total of each ship you own which is alive at the end of the mission. So, at the end of the day, you can earn more VP by capturing than sinking.

Do you first have to pierce the armor of a certain part of the ship and then fire at that part (red part on the diagram of the ship) before the hull takes damage?

Yes; there are four armor sections; bow, stern, port, starboard ( front, back, left, right sides ). The port and starboard sides have the most armor, while the bow and stern are relatively weak. You need to destroy the armor before the center (the hull) gets damaged. This implies you want to angle a damaged ship's good side toward your opponent, keeping the weak side out of harms way.
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