I love my CPT wheel mounted autopilot!
- installation on my Westsail 42 Edson pedestal wheel was breeze. took 3 hours from start to finish.
- it's inexpensive to the point where I plan to purchase a second one to have as a backup. If for any reason it fails, then swapping out a failed until for new one at sea would take minutes.
- it steers my 37,000 lb empty displacement center cockpit Westsail 42 like a champ. It did well on all points of sail.
- very simple and easy to use. get the boat on course, match the dial on the CPT to the course, and engage.
- you have to be careful not to get your fingers anywhere near it while it's working
- disengaging it from steering requires pulling out the wheel that turns the belt that turns the wheel. you have to be careful to not get your fingers in the belt which can be a pain in you're in a big hurry.
- in very heavy weather I'm sure it wouldn't steer as well or be as reliable as a hydraulic RAM. It can get overpowered in extreme conditions... heavy air, rough seas, down wind... towing a 52 foot boat...
Ultimately it did fail for me under extreme conditions, but I don't blame it! The CPT had been steering my 42 foot boat while I was towing a 52 foot boat for 3 days before the weather got bad. We were in rough seas with 20 knots on the nose... It finally gave in and we collided. But again I feel that the weather situation combined with the towing situation would have made it very difficult to impossible for any autopilot or person..
I was so impressed with the CPT autopilot after that sail to Bermuda that I wrote to CPT and thanked them for making such a great product and they put my testimonial on their website.
From there the CPT worked great getting me to Saint Martin, and later non-stop from Saint Martin to Beaufort, NC.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxQ3K7n-mn8&feature=plcp&context=C20d0fUDOEgsToPDskJ3glLGnIaxyu-Xu6PwM4Oz
I later installed a Furuno autopilot with hydraulic RAM on the quadrant and of course it's totally awesome. But I'm really happy that I have the CPT there always ready to go as backup!
My Aries wind vane works fabulously on my center cockpit Westsail 42... But there are less than two turns to steer from hard to port to hard to starboard... The Westsail 42 also has a full keel without any cutaway and an enormous rudder so I think she tracks well..
As a final backup autopilot I have a Raymarine tiller pilot mounted on the stern and connected to the wind vane air foil. I haven't gotten that to work very well... it generally keeps us going where we want to, but almost like it's too drunk to drive so I have that as an absolute last resort...
For years I sailed a Westsail 32 with an Aries vane and tiller steering. It's worked absolutely great as well. That boat also was full keel and big rudder..
s/v 'Paragon' (Westsail 42)
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