In putting together some ship cards to run Strachan's Action for a convention, I noticed something about French and Spanish 74s, as opposed to their British counterpoints. All British third rates require 2 crew boxes as the minimum crew for handling sails. French and Spanish ships are required to keep 3 crew boxes as minimum crew. This also applies to the three-deckers for each country.
My question is: Are the different crew requirements a way to show that French/Spanish ships normally had larger, but less experienced crews than their British counterparts? As a related question, if that is the case, could French/Spanish ships ever reach a state of crew quality (say, in a campaign game for instance) where they would only need 2 crew boxes for this instead of 3?
Now, to go really far afield, would this 3 crew box requirement apply to other navies with large, but poorly trained crews? I'm specifically thinking of the Russian and Otoman Turks here, as the 1806-1812 war between them is an interest of mine.