How I handle "late" game problems?

  • I started the game by doing manual trading mostly.

    After a while it got cumbersome, and I learned how to do "sucker" trade routes.

    First question: Why some of my trade routes get full and just stay full, while others tell me there are "no destination" and thus allow me to know I must unload them?

    Then I had the problem of excessive amount of some goods, and my warehouse started to create cashflow problems, eventually I learned about mediterran exporting, and prince exporting.

    This worked more or less well, I became the richest and most popular trader, I also became mayor, built the second wall, all fortifications, and all "city" structures on my home town (Luebeck).

    I then started to crank out ships like there is no tomorrow, in a attempt to get enough ships to defeat the pirate base for the Alderman mission...

    Second question: How I get enough weapons for my ships? It is obvious that even using a single shipyard I can build ships much faster than I can fully arm them, not only in cannons and bombards but also in cutlasses amount.

    Then the worring part: although I am absurdly rich (11 million company value) full of ships (about 60) cash (4 million, mostly looted from the said pirate base mission), business (about 90 across 4 towns) and captains (I have 5 sucker captains, 2 expedition captains, 2 "seller" captains, 2 production chain supply captains, 2 warship captains), and my biggest competitor (another person from Luebeck) has only a shit amount of shitty ships (15, 13 of them I auctioned when I captured them junked) and almost no business (in his hometown only 3 merchant houses), he started to quickly climb in both profits and popularity, and overtook me on both...

    The question is: how a guy with almost no business, and shitty ships, and with councillor (not patrician) title could overtake me in popularity and wealth? Can I see what goods he is trading, and to where?

    Another question: I am getting my warehouse full of some goods, not so full in others, and my supply chain is getting increasingly complex, how I automate that to make it less chaotic?

    Another question: How I figure what to supply to towns I have noone there? (or rather, what I load in my auto-seller convoys? and how I tell the auto-seller ships to load properly? right now I just more or less load 50 barrels of each good, in case of "load" goods I load 5 instead)

    Final question: how I can turn that 4 million cash, and about 20 ships that are just sitting idle (sometimes without enough sailors or cutlasses) on my harbor to something useful?

    EDIT: regarding the guy I mentioned earlier that surpasses me by unknown means, can I sabotage him somehow without abusing bugs or pirates?