Yesterday I was one of seven who fought at Grenville. Five were from the Confederacy, one from FES, and one unaligned. We only had two or three who had any experience in port battles, and nobody was willing to act as leader. In terms of levels, we had a 49 (ReJean Lemay), a 42 (Nicole la Souris), and the rest were 30-somethings. It was my first port battle, since I'm online at an odd time (11pm-1am Pacific).
The pirates had 24 ships, including quite a few 50s. It was clear we had no chance of survival. The hopeful comments of friends a day or two earlier, such as "every ship can make a difference" were, alas, mere expressions of optimism.
It rapidly became clear that nobody really understood how these battles worked. A few people had "some" knowledge, but not enough to formulate a cohesive plan and lead our seven with any confidence.
As a result, most of us ended ashore, inside a fortress, trying to look for lieutenants and a commander who we never found. Instead the pirates found us and killed us, like lost sheep. I have a feeling we probably weren't even ashore at the right spot!
I had hoped to learn something from the battle. I valued what little information the others could share, but at the end of the battle I remained feeling lost, confused, frustrated and discouraged.
The message I got was that I might as well ignore port battles from now on during my online time (11pm-1am Pacific), and advise all others at that time to do the same. Participating in one won't be educational, you'll get slaughtered at the least, and quite possibly lose valuable outfittings along with a point of durability if your ship goes down.
I suspect this is a combination of being on a low-pop server, being with the underdog nation, being online at a bad time, and pirate players taking advantage of the game mechanics currently in effect. Perhaps when one or two of these factors change I'll have a chance at participating in a "real" port battle.
* sigh *