Yes, read O'Brien if you get the chance. For that matter, try C.S. Forrester. I did like the British Man of War UU with enslavement feature in Civ III ... I guess that's why it's my avatar. During open warfare, once everyone becomes aware of it, only the fastest merchantships and smugglers traveled alone. The slower ones stayed in escorted convoys or got captured. Privateers/pirates are for profit "cherry pickers" that use their speed to pick and choose their chases and fights. If they think they'll take more damage than the prize is worth , they won't engage. If they think the prize is vauable, they'll chase it far. They didn't try to stop all traffic. A military blockade is designed to close the port, allowing nothing in or out. They will shoot to sink rather than chase and board so that they won't be drawn out of position, allowing several ships to escape while they capture the first. They would like to play privateer for the profit, but they have to hold their position.