OK, from what I can ascertain, turning the ship, or going straight, makes a huge difference as to what the broadsides will shoot at. When I have Hunters and Warships following me, there's a greater tendency for poop deck shots if I've been sailing in a straight line for too long. To avoid that problem, I turn away from a target I want to hit, and while turning, I shoot at the target, that is a target other than the Hunters and Warships. Can't wait too long or you get a spatter shot to everywhere. When I'm circling my escorts (aka Hunter and his Warship companion) I stop turning for a moment, as in going straight, as gang oath dude mentioned, shoot, then start turning again in the circular pattern I was going in. Sometimes I do a hard left if I've been circling right, or vice versa for the opposite direction, as I'm shooting the broadsides. Now Eric mentioned above that spatter shots are due to lack of aim, but not always. Sometimes, especially if the npc ship just spawned, the targeting doesn't recognize it for several seconds and you get a spatter shot instead of an aimed shot. It's sorta become second nature to me, so I can't explain more just yet, but I'll pay attention more to what I'm doing to adapt to the broadsides and post it as it comes to me.