Well I start with Dutch flag. Only switching flag when I got 10.000 gold on my head by Spaniard..
About the space to shoot canon thing, It can be done to ships too before u starts attacking it. I did that to the "Ship of The Line". And in my game, that ship was Flag Galleon.
Yes with small ship u can manuver nicely and u can sink big ship if your control is good. But small ship can not bring lots of troops. And gold can be gained much from attacking cities which will be easy if u got huge number of troops.
Until I uninstall the game yesterday, I still wonder about the Treasure ship that carried huge amount of gold bullion that kept being announced by the tavern girl. Anyone got that ship??