When pirates get together and talk about English
gunships, they focus on either the most excellent
Titan or the grossly overpriced Dreadnought.
Somehow, this ship always gets overlooked. Why?
There is only one other five-masted ship that can
move S+L without help (the Pirate ship Deliverance
in her various incarnations). The Broadside Attack
ability is better than it sounds, now that WizKids
has decided that it ignores defensive abilities like
El Cristal del Obispo or the original El Acorazado.
Five cargo is always good, especially when you don't
have to fill one cargo space with a Helmsman. The
cannons are adequate, and a mix of S and L is always
better than all of one or the other.
A ship like this should get all the crew you can
pack onto it (assuming your enemies aren't prone to
using Mermaids). A Captain is a bare minimum. At
maximum, I'd use Hermione Gold (captain and
world-hater), Henry Ducie Chads (SAT and +1 vs
Pirates), Countess Diana Doone (reroll), and Cameron
the Cabin Boy (in case you need a Cannoneer,
Shipwright or Firepotter on the fly). That's 32
points, which is a lot, but only six more than the
Dreadnought with no crew at all. I assure you, your
enemies will never overlook HMS Swallow again.