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Re: Navico WP5000 Autopilot
I have a WP5000 on my Catalina 30. The unit was installed by the previous owner, and as you discovered, with a mid-size boat it is difficult to mount the unit 39 inches from the ship's compass. I noted that 39 inch requirement when I was familiarizing myself with the boat and its gear.
On my boat it is mounted about 30 inches from the ship's compass and does not seem to have an issue. It appears to work great. I would suggest test mounting it with double-sided tape and see how it performs, before you drill holes, and then move it as necessary.
Also, mounting the control unit near the base of the pedestal is probably not a good location. Obviously you have to mount the drive unit there so it can drive the ship's wheel. The control unit should be mounted within easy reach so you can make course adjustments, etc. (which you will probably be doing frequently to avoid lobster pots, buoys, etc.) Here in the NE that is common, but even if you don't have those nav issues, you'll want the unit close at hand to make adjustments for trim, and course, and wind changes.