It has always seemed so interesting to me that there could be such force in low velocity dynamics concerning ballistics. To think that a projectile moving at a speed where it could easily be seen could have the ability to inflict such gruesome effect.
In combat between ships it seems that just before boarding, a volley was often fired to create confusion on deck, so lesser charge would be needed with the vessels closing. This shot would bring down rigging etc. to add to the confusion. ....at least thats what my pirate manual says
but then them's just guidelines, right?
All the best,