This fleet is my entry for the "Small Fry" fleet challenge. (Details Here)
This setup posed an interesting challenge because it forces players to rely on the little ships rather than always loading up the monster gunships or treasure galleons. That still leaves a massive collection of ships for players to use, some of which are the cheapest and most cost-effective ships in the game, so to add an extra (personal) challenge I intentionally avoided using any of them. On top of that I went with an all-Cursed fleet, which is a nation I've rarely used, and one that's generally not known for its small ships, for being good at treasure-running, or even for being particularly good at combat. They're known best for their gimmicks and crazy-powerful crew... most of which you won't find here.
The "flagship" of this fleet is Celestine with its link the Master Scribe aboard. The main purpose of this ship is to blanket the sea with trade currents that all of the others can use to reach their destinations more quickly. On the turns when the ability gives a speed bonus instead of a current it can switch to doing some treasure-running of its own.
Lizard's Sting and Nightmare are the primary treasure-hunters of the fleet. Neither will win any contests when it comes to speed, but with help from Celestine's trade currents they'll save a lot of time heading out to islands. Lizard's Sting comes with an ability that will make it extremely resistant to enemy gunships by rendering their cannons mostly ineffective. If they get try to get close enough to ram, it's got a nice short-range defensive cannon that can take a big bite out of any one- or two-masted ship. Nightmare's slightly slower base move is offset with the addition of an Explorer who will reduce the time it needs to spend at islands. It has a pair of nice cannons of its own, so any attacker had better make sure to knock them both off at once or it's going to be in for some hurt.
The Hunter/Killer of this fleet is Fallen Angel, which has the speed (especially when boosted by a current) to catch virtually anything else in the water, and comes with a built-in ability that, like Lizard's Sting, will make it difficult to attack. The standard Captain is a must for any gunship, plus this one comes with a nasty surprise in the form of a Firepot specialist that will be utterly devastating to any small ship it can hit. It's a great "fire-and-forget" weapon because there will be little need to stick around to make sure the target sinks, because the flames will take care of that.
Rounding out the fleet are a pair of (Pirate) Forts that fit in somewhat thematically with the Cursed, particularly Devil's Maw. I don't expect to see much use out of their abilities, but they'll make very nice forward operating bases, and with only small ships sailing around they'll be much safer places to store gold than in normal games.
As an added surprise for opponents, the seldom-seen Cursed Natives will take out some crew and severely restrict how much treasure can be taken while having no effect whatsoever on my own ships.
Overall, there's nothing too fancy about this fleet, but it should get the job done. The greatest threat will be fast-moving gunships, but with the defensive abilities and generally very good cannons of most of these ships they won't be pushovers either.