Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Join Date: May 2006
Thanked 122 Times in 110 Posts
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Re: Need advice for autopilot
I have a newish CPT autopilot. It is rugged for sure. Loaded, our boat is close to 40,000 lbs. We only use it when there is no wind and it seems up to the task. The control/sensing unit seems very sensitive to magnetic influences. The CPT uses a magnetic compass and we could not install it where the control unit for the old Raytheon unit had been - just too much magnetic stuff there - CPT mentioned a problem with throttle and gear cables. Once we moved the control unit it was fine, but you do need to fiddle.
You should be able to get the Cap Horn to work, especially with the help of Yves. We have a Monitor and our experience would suggest two areas of difficulty. One is that the boat absolutely must be balanced. For us that has meant eliminating weather helm by reducing the size of the main. We have a roller furling main and just roll in enough sail until we are balanced. Try over-reefing. If you don't need to reef, put in one. If you need one reef, put in two. Also do not have the main sheet overtightened. We can steer our boat when the Monitor is on by moving the mainsheet in and out - even a few inches will change the course. Vanes are very sensitive devices, but once you get if figured out it becomes very easy. i don't know how the Cap Horn works from the vane rudder to the wheel, but it really matters to have minimum friction. We ended up experimenting with various blocks, but now use two Harken and two Ronstan bearing blocks. There is a fair bit of tension on them and they are constantly moving. If the blocks do not turn effortlessly it becomes much harder to steer the boat.
After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.