A few things I feel like saying, just because. Don't take this as a critique, it's just me being me, saying what's at the top of my head. :-)
1) Rolling about at 4x non-stop? Man, I really couldn't do that. Too much OCD, I guess. And clicking about while the game is unpaused takes time, quite a lot of time at 4x even. Since this game is essentially a long race to see who build up faster, you're constantly bleeding serious amounts of time.
2) Maybe I missed something but I didn't really notice a lot of colony invasions and stuff on your part. I would've thought that spawning a galaxy with lots of indies that you could then dominate easily would've been a more reliable way to make money than smuggling. It sure seems to work fabulously for pirates when I'm playing a regular empire.
3) I believe the easy solution to troop upkeep is to not have very many and simply nuke any colony with troops into a smoking ruin. It's not very fitting for regular empires but pirates are supposed to be evil bastards so why not?
4) I'm not sure how tech works in that mod but it sure didn't look like you had much of a tech lead relative to the normale empires. I could be wrong, but I suspect that limited tech advantage plus cruising at 4x speed results in regular empires catching up relatively easily, at which point you're in big trouble, since they are technically speaking rivals.