I am looking at a couple of choices,
1) Replace with below deck autopilot( probably Raymarine, although Coursemaster a local product looks reasonable). My issue with this is power consumption on a long passage given our pretty modest systems( we have 300ah in the house bank, 200w solar and an oversized alternator). I am also still struggling to trust something electronic offshore and away from a Raymarine dealer. This would be about a 3k project, but might escalate if we need to beef up our power generation.
3)Purchase a new Raymarine Wheel pilot. I get why below deck models are better, but our current st4000+ seems to do every thing I need it too. We have no plans to circumnavigate or enter the southern ocean. 1.5K project.
2) Purchase a Hydrovane. (I prefer this auxiliary rudder style of vane for our centre cockpit yacht.) and use our existing long suffering st4000+ for light winds and motoring. I like the idea of a vane. This however would be a 6k project and in reality I am wondering if the couple of long passages we will do justify this cost, also it would mean our st4000+ is still being relied upon some of the time, so I would be concerned about then trying to get hold of spares etc for it, and doing some preventative maintenance.
3)Keep existing St4000. Do preventative maintenance, take alot of spares. Hope for the best. Be ready to hand steer and know that's the price to save 6k.
Yes I realize this is another autopilot vs Windvane thread.