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Old 20-12-2014, 11:39   #1
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Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

OK we just crossed the Atlantic and are relaxing in St. Maarten, well actually we are trying to get our diesel repaired, LOL. Some of you have either purchased or were thinking of purchasing a CPT wheel pilot. We purchased one as back up if our larger, more powerful Raymarine electric/hydraulic ever gave up the ghost.

The Raymarine was flawless however it drank goobs of amps so we needed to run the engine to top off the batteries even though we had a decent solar setup and when our engine started to give us trouble we started to really cutback on our electrical use. All of a sudden our back up autopilot was asked to carry the full load which it did without missing a beat for 80% of the trip.
There is a bit of a learning curve on setting up the sensitivity but once I had it dialed in it looked after things without an issue.
I am really impressed with this new model and it was able to handle the boat under spinnaker or white sails and in light winds to winds in the 30 knot plus range. I thought it might want to jump cogs in the belt when the going got a little rough but there was none of that. It used less steering impute than our larger model yet held a very good course, maybe not quite as good as the larger one but totally adequate for the job and better than most helmsmen. If you are looking for a good powerful wheel pilot that has no problems steering a 42 footer across the Atlantic for days on end then take a good look at the CPT, it really is good gear. R
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Old 20-12-2014, 15:26   #2
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Re: Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

Thanks Robert. We've cruised 5000 miles with no AP, but it's on our short list. I was pretty much convinced the CPT was what I wanted. I've asked a member or two in the past, and they were satisfied with their CPT. Great to hear that you too are satisfied.

Can you give an accurate figure as to amps required to run the CPT (just average)?

Thanks again for the info. I really appreciate it.

Ralph
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Old 20-12-2014, 15:43   #3
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Re: Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

Hey Ralph, kinda hard to give you an exact figure but it was probably less than a quarter of what my big one was using in the heavier going and in the lighter stuff maybe 10% of what my Raymarine was using! Certainly worth looking in to if you are looking for an autopilot that is easy to install and light on the pocket book and most of all it works very well, at least on our boat. Merry Xmas, R
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Old 20-12-2014, 15:54   #4
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Re: Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

Good enough. Thanks again. And Merry Christmas to you as well. Enjoy the Islands.

Ralph
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Old 20-12-2014, 15:56   #5
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Re: Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

Robert, I've been telling people that for years. Best wheel pilot on the market. Maybe even better than a below decks autopilot. Just did a four day trip up the East Coast USA in the ocean. Set it and forget it. And I never had to charge the batteries the whole trip. CPT rules! Glad to hear of your experiences.
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Old 20-12-2014, 16:03   #6
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Re: Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

I have a CPT as well and the power it uses is difficult to measure. When I had incandescent lightning, you could easily see one light bulb pulled 1 amp, but I haven't been able to determine the power the CPT uses. Probably have to measure directly with my Fluke I guess. The other thing is, it's completely silent.
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Old 21-12-2014, 14:02   #7
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Re: Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

I have one on my 33' Yorktown and love it so far.

What have you learned about the settings for various conditions? Share your settings learning curve please.
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Old 21-12-2014, 14:26   #8
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Re: Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

Sure I can do that, keep in mind these are settings for the open ocean and I'm sure you would want to dial them back for normal cruising. Also keep in mind that every boat steers differently so what works for me may not work for you. When the winds were in the 20-30 knot range sailing off the wind I used 5 rudder and 1 deadband. When the winds were 10-15 I used 5 rudder and 3 deadband. You can certainly dial it back but your course will vary back and forth about 10-15 degrees BUT it will average out to the course selected. Often I would dial it back when I was on watch to save power but when the girls were on watch I was concerned that a larger wave might allow the boat to veer to much so These were the settings I used and the little bugger steered like a banshee. Great piece of gear. The belt is actually a timing belt so its tough, I bought a couple for spares down the road but its doubtful that I would ever need them.
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Old 21-12-2014, 18:27   #9
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Re: Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

Robert, I'm still on my original ten year old belt. Have two unused spares. Think I may change it out "just because".

I also found that rudder and deadband in the 3 - 5 range worked best, but as you pointed out, each boat has to be sailed and tested to see what works. The worst conditions I've used it in was 20 - 25 knots off the starboard quarter in 3 - 4 foot following seas. Worked flawlessly. You may have had worse crossing the Atlantic.
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Old 22-12-2014, 18:51   #10
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Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

I normally set deadband to 2 or 3, rudder seems to depend on boat speed, if shes moving right along at say 7 kts, then 2 or 3 is fine, going slow it needs more rudder.
I believe there are significant differences between the old AP and the new one as far as course holding etc.

I doubt you'll ever wear out the belt, I think UV is what may eventually force it's replacement
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Old 22-12-2014, 20:37   #11
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Re: Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

Yes there are very big differences between the older one with a standard wet compass and the new one with the electronic one. The new one offers course changes in 1 degree or 10 degree with a push of a button as well as autotack, these are improvements that the older one did not have.
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Old 22-12-2014, 21:26   #12
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Re: Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

Yeah, I lust after the new one, but the old one refuses to die.
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Old 23-12-2014, 04:35   #13
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Re: Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

Thanks Robert. We planned on having one delivered to the canaries but time ran out. We will definitely pick one up next year in the US and fit it before our next major crossings. Thee were a couple of times the Raymarine hydraulic ram was making a bit more noise than usual and a backup would have been nice to have. Low power and low noise are bonuses as well!
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Old 23-12-2014, 05:05   #14
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Re: Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

Hey Monte,
Yes it is nice to have backup and the noise is a big issue for voyagers. I hand steered for 2 weeks on a trip back from Hawaii when my pilot crashed and that was 25 years ago. I am not the man I used to be so would not look forward to that action again.
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Old 23-12-2014, 07:10   #15
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Re: Ocean Review CPT wheel pilot

Thanks for the report on the new & improved CPT's, Robert. Nothing like an Atlantic crossing for a credible, hands-on review! I keep reading where the unit is purchased for backup purposes, but winds up becoming primary. Despite the virtues of a wind vane, I'm still not all that keen on fitting one so this is good news.
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