Great game, would be perfect if there was a more throughout tutorial, with proper explanations of diferent combat options. Others have said that "sails" lower the opponents AP, but i aam not so sure about that. I did some testing against different kind of ships, and in some cases "crew" was more effective in lowering enemy AP.
I do not know why so many say they have problems with The Bowl. Only time i got into a little trouble, was when i got bored and started building speed and storage like crazy ;-)
Just hurry in the beginning and fill your crater with collectors and put a couple around the edge (4 should be enough to start with).
Then just upgrade your infrastructure and take the points one at a time, by sending like 5 drones, sending a couple of blasters (again 4 should be enough) and connect them with a relay. Rinse and repeat.
I just started from level 1, with a fully upgraded base and tank, and then left the game alone for a couple of hours. So i can now confirm that it is possible to finish the game without lifting a finger. :P
It seems like there is a bug when choosing new weapons. If you click on a slot there already is occupied, then the existing weapon vanishes and the new weapon gets its place (unlike when you do it at your family screen, where they get switched around).