The WH Autopilot
I installed on Crazy Fish has an stout arm that mounts/clamps to the rudder post below the quadrant. The end of this is attached hydraulic actuator that is mounted starboard bulkhead which I beefed up using a piece of 2x6 and fiberglass.
Currently what WH calls the RAT which provides the feedback on the rudder position which is lightweight device is attached to the quadrant. When I convert the boat from wheel to tiller I will have to come up with something else.
I assume from your post that on your boat there is a fiberglass column surrounding the rudder post thru the engine/below decks compartment and
that you will need to cut thru it to gain access. Would seem that the bearings
for the rudder post would be located where the post comes out the deck and
in the hull so completely removing his fiberglass column would be fine.
Might call Thumper at the factory to see what they would do if converting the boat from tiller to wheel or just adding a below decks autopilot
to a boat configured as yours. He has been pretty helpful working with me on the wheel to tiller conversion.
Also couldn't be happier with the WH Autopilot
that I installed ~1998. The unit just continues to work. My first issue occured a couple of months ago when the remote control stopped working. There was some corrosion
around the buttons, etc. I sent it in and for $160 they overhauled and ship it back to me.
Crazy Fish, Crealock 37, Hull 207