This is a quick fleet I thought up after considering some RtSS combos. It's a rare fleet that uses American game pieces but has almost no combat capability (just rams and boards if desperate).
The cargo master is actually Huang Bai from Return to Savage Shores:
Ability: Ex-Patriot. Hostile: Spain. Once per turn, you can eliminate one of this ship’s crew to give her an extra action. After looking at treasure on a wild island, you can trade any one treasure from that island for a random treasure on any other wild island. This ship must load the traded treasure.
Flavor: Unwilling to cede the end of the Jade Empire, Huang Bai nonetheless realizes the need to pause and rebuild—as a mercenary. His first customer, America, is eager to pit him and “Golden Axe” against the expanding Spanish empire.
Huang Bai is absolutely perfect for the Frontier. The Frontier is a premium gold runner, expensive but very capable of almost any treasure-related task you give her. Bai's sac ability is perfect for the Frontier's huge cargo hold, allowing for many sacrificial oarsmen without compromising the Frontier's ability to transport large loads of gold. The treasure trading ability is great for the Hoist keyword, and will hopefully allow for the Frontier to get rid of negative UT's like Missionary. The Frontier can move 6S (S+S+S+S+S+S) up to 3 times in the game, which can be used to get a very early start in the gold race, likely sailing to the far frontier and getting gold from the furthest islands. The ship gains the Mercenary keyword and can't dock at her own home island, but that is rendered moot due to the Hoist keyword being able to deposit gold at home without docking! With each oarsman that is eliminated, her cargo space gets freed up, furthering the perfection of this crew setup. That said, she still has 4 cargo spaces open with all 5 crew aboard, which is plenty enough for some great treasures.
The James Madison carries Perry to allow Huang Bai to be hired for exploratory operations. The JM also has an explorer, which will allow her to get gold faster. The James Madison is sort of the protector/in-between ship of this fleet, since she has arguably the best armament and will be earning the ire of opposing fleets by spying on their gold discoveries. She is a gold runner and can dump her explorer if desired to make room for another coin. Perry would rather not fight, but with that ability she might board a small enemy treasure runner if a high value coin is spotted from the crow's nest.
The Rattlesnake is a typical but fantastic option to fill out the build limit of any American fleet. At just 7 points with a helmsman, she is one of the best US runners at L+S with 4 spaces open. Between her small size and lack of an explorer, she will likely make sure the nearest island's gold belongs to the United States, before running off and assisting her larger fleetmates in gold acquisition and/or combat deterrence.
The UT's might help the gold total a bit, and it's likely to find some with the Frontier. Thompson's Island is a great way to protect some gold since this fleet is fragile and has no gunships, as well as providing a potential dropoff spot for the Frontier before the JM and Rattlesnake ferry that gold home for safety (this strategy would be best served in multiplayer games and/or games with larger oceans). The Hoist keyword allows the Frontier to unload gold at home, but the fort is also a good option if the Frontier needs to repair, at which point Thompson's Island will function nicely as a the ship's protector, with four 2L guns while the Frontier is docked there.
There were a few other options I considered, which included using the Mongrel (a nice ship from RtSS) as a hybrid/escort, and the Annapolis before I remembered the James Madison. Overall I was very satisfied how all the point costs and options worked out.
The nice thing about proxying the cargo master is that this fleet would be great with that setup as well! The Frontier wouldn't be quite as effective, but she could have 8 cargo spaces to start the game, with 3 for the JM and 5 for the Rattlesnake! (helmsman and oarsman aboard the Frontier, with the other oarsmen on each of the other ships/perhaps an explorer on the Rattlesnake)
Thanks for reading; comment and vote!