I preface this reply by saying that I have only been ambushed in an outpost twice. Both times, I was able to elude the crew and get away. One of those times, I managed to sink their ship when they pursued. So my personal game experience has not been that bad. However, I have read countless posts about people having absolutely horrible experiences. And as this is the beta, I expect such incidents to get worse after public release. I may have done well so far, but if it escalates, it may get to frustrating dealing with such camping/griefing players.
My official stance, and what would shift my decision to actually pay for the game:
I am all for PVP out on the seas and on the random small islands we need to go to for our voyages. But when the day is done and I have a ship full of loot, give a safe harbor to pull into to exchange my goods. These pirate strongholds existed in the real world, where all were safe, so they fit the theme of the game. If people want to PVP off-ship, there are plenty of other options to ambush people. There are some non-outpost islands that would make for very excellent battles.
Or take it to the seas. Some of my best gameplay in SoT has been ship to ship combat, this is where the game shines for me. If I have a ship full of loot blowing full sail to an outpost and another ship comes out from around an island with intent to us harm, I think that excitement to try to make it to port would add even more tense action and excitement to the game. That 'safe zone' element to the outpost can be the catalyst for some great naval action as people blockade or run blockades.
It would also relieve a lot of the frustration from people that spawn into a world to find their ship already destroyed, which I have had happen twice, or get gunned down walking out of the tavern, which I have narrowly avoided the one time they tried. Not to mention all of the other people that camp the gold merchant to gun down defenseless chest carriers.
So why not have safe ports? Or, as somebody else has already mentioned in another thread that there could be 'safe' ports and 'not safe' ports where the 'not safe' variety might offer a higher reward but comes with a higher risk. Maybe a combination of both, make everybody happy.
At the end of the day, I have no interest in buying a game that is going to reward a few hours of fun exploration and loot gathering with a crew of campers and griefers that are going to shoot people down while their hands are full and moving slow. That is a good way to drive away a good chunk of gamers.
If that is the intent of the game, I wish everyone playing the best. Just not my style of game play. If that is not the intent of the developers, I look forward to seeing it made more adaptable for a wider audience.