TDW...Good point about the anchor noise. I find that unless the chain itself is playing out...I can't hear it even in the salon with the usual noise of radio/tv/chatter. I find that when conditions are rough enough to possibly drag me...I'm up in the cockpit anyway cause i get too nervous to sleep!
On the self steering...presently I am electric but we had our stern ladder moved to port/starboard stanchions last year so we could put a vane on when we wanted to. It is possible to run the steering lines up through turning blocks and to the wheel but the bimini/enclosure complicates things so we haven't done it yet. There are vanes that can work via the quadrant but our displacement/size rules these out. For now we rely on Mr. Simrad.