CleanCutRogue wrote:It says on page 116 that a 2 mast ship "can carry more cargo in a single haul."
(Edited to remove facetious details and make for a shorter post.)
I really hope you'll get a different answer than I did, but basically what I was told was, "No, that's just the way it is." I've tried comparing the various ship sizes and types to try to figure out any "progression" between them, but just when I think there's some logic to it, I run into something that breaks the imagined "rule." Basically, near as I can tell, that's just the way it is.
For example, consider the lowly 1-masted ship, costing $15,000, with 2 guns (worth $6,000 total). Notice the "sloop" package which adds to the Top Speed and adds 2 more guns ... with no increase in Cost, and absolutely no drawbacks whatsoever. If you're going to have a 1-masted ship, making it a sloop is practically a no-brainer. I mean, if you really wanted to have a 1-masted cargo-hauler, just turn around and sell off those two extra guns and convert the space into an extra cargo slot. For a sloop, the total cost is $15,000, but $12,000 of that value is for the guns alone!
None of this really causes any problems until you have players paying close attention to the ship stats, considering how much money they have in their "ship's purse," and trying to figure out the best ship to get (and the best way to fit it) for their meager earnings.
For my own campaign, I have little choice but to just go with it. Nothing quite beats having players go through stats with a fine-toothed comb, but when the numbers are in print, even if it were changed in "errata," it'd be a pain to have the players mark up all their books.