The players in my 7th Sea campaign finally invested in a ship, late in their careers, which means we've finally broken out the naval combat rules. The rules seem like a bit of an afterthought, with a lot of confusing and strange quirks to them... But that's fodder for other questions.
The important thing is, the rules as written seem to have a lot of book keeping involved. A given ship can take quite a few hits before sinking, each one of which requires the selection of a stat to penalize. When the NPCs have more than one ship, this makes it difficult to manage and track the NPCs.
This leads to my question: Are there any official or (playtested) homebrew alternatives to the stock naval combat rules that reduce the book keeping required?
For example, the PCs were fighting three smaller ships. A good hit from the PCs' over-gunned ship could force me to find a couple of stats to reduce, followed by increased time for stat lookups, as each NPC ship quickly evolved its own to-hit, defense, initiative and damage.
Something that reduces or eliminates the stat differences and/or the extra decisions and tracking when damage is taken would be nice.
I've got a few ideas (like eliminating wound penalties for NPCs, but making them sink sooner), but I'd like to see if anyone has something that's actually been played with.