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Old 29-11-2018, 21:11   #1
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Experience with CPT Autopilot?

i just found the website for CPT autopilots and was thinking of this for a backup to my present below deck autopilot. At 38,000 lbs my boat is near the upper limit that they say their unit is suitable for but i see favorable reviews from several people that have much heavier boats. Does anyone have direct experience with this unit?
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Old 29-11-2018, 21:23   #2
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Re: Experience with CPT Autopilot?

Hi, mine works perfectly on a 73´/42000lbs boat. My boat is very well balanced, though. The autopilot uses very little electricity, is quiet and steers well. Built quality is very high. I am installing a separate controller for the inside steering station, that will also steer by the wind.
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Old 29-11-2018, 22:10   #3
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Re: Experience with CPT Autopilot?

I love mine. 37.5 hunter legend. I have a few videos of my boat under sail with the CPT. Very reliable, excellent customer service, and I mean excellent!

https://youtu.be/RyBtTZZPhus

https://youtu.be/RyBtTZZPhus

https://youtu.be/dkmOsa-c5Kw

Just a couple of videos that I took for myself when the CPT is at the helm. I've used my CP in all types of conditions. It is necessary to balance the sail plan, however. The motor is not strong enough to compensate for extreme weather helm.

The other nice thing about the CPT is it does enable you to tack and what I think is of most benefit is you can adjust the amount of rudder angle per turn and you can adjust the sensitivity of the wheel pilot on-the-fly to account for sloppy seas.

Regarding the customer service, after 3 years Of use, my CPT would not turn on. I called Jeff at CPT and they immediately sent me out a spare unit free of charge to install so that I could send them back my unit for repair. Ultimately, the problem was on my end and the positive feed had simply fallen off the DC panel. I then sent back the CPT unit having never needed a new one. I've had my CPT for 7 years now and it has been working perfectly for me.

Ben
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Old 30-11-2018, 06:49   #4
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Experience with CPT Autopilot?

As,crazy as this sounds, but weight of the boat is irrelevant, it’s actually how much Force is required to turn the wheel at I believe 1’ from the wheel center.
Just from memory I believe the CPT can exert 100 ft lbs of Force, which sounds like an enormous amount, but if you have a 6’ wheel and only need to exert 20 lbs of Force at the rim, a CPT likely can’t handle it.

If your wheel is 3’ and you need 50 lbs of Force, then a CPT can handle it.

Reason is the CPT can exert 100 lbs of Force 1’ from wheel center, again going from memory so verify.

My initial plan was to get a “Real” below decks autopilot, and have the CPT as a backup. However my CPT works so well, I may just get another CPT. Of course you can swap out a CPT entirely in about 1 min with no tools and no need to go below decks as long as it’s installed with a power plug that you can unplug.

However all it will do really is hold a heading, and even then it’s not really holding a heading, but a direction so if currents change etc it will drift in course.
It does not hold a course, but compared to hand steering it’s a God send.
I think your idea of having one as a backup is excellent, you’ll need to install the wheel pulley and the motor bracket and the heading box bracket and then it’s just a matter of plugging in, tightening four thumb screws and the belt and you have an autopilot
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Old 30-11-2018, 09:25   #5
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Re: Experience with CPT Autopilot?

And then you will realise that the CPT uses much less electricity and is quiet and you will use it and instead have the other AP as backup.

Yes, there are limits to the force exerted. Balanced spade rudders allow the CPT to steer bigger boats than a barn door rudder. Yours is somewhere in between.

Just send them an email, they are experienced and helpful and can tell you if it will work on your boat and give you a configuration and a quote.
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Old 30-11-2018, 09:41   #6
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Re: Experience with CPT Autopilot?

I love my CPT, on my Tayana 37,, heavy boat,, it does fine. Like everyone says sail balance is very important. Customer service is fantastic.
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Old 30-11-2018, 10:28   #7
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Re: Experience with CPT Autopilot?

I had a CPT on my old boat (40', 10 tons) as an alternative to the wind vane.

The best description is reliable, strong, and dumb. As several people have suggested, the helm balance and force required at the wheel hub is way more important than the size of the boat.

It will struggle with many boats while running before the wind. Without any kind of rate of turn feedback, it just can't manage really tough steering situations if the boat is being thrown around by waves. But 98% of the time, it works fine.

I much prefer our modern, strong and smart AP that can do so much more, but on a performance per dollar the CPT is unbeatable.
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Old 30-11-2018, 14:21   #8
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Re: Experience with CPT Autopilot?

I had a CPT as a back up on our previous 39ft. catamaran during about 60,000miles of sailing. The Raymarine RFU wore out and the CPT went to work. I bought mine in 2001, had it refurbished in 2010 and still use it on my present catamaran for the main AP unit.
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Old 30-11-2018, 14:35   #9
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Re: Experience with CPT Autopilot?

We used a CPT as a backup to a Monitor vane on a Bristol 45.5 which cruised around 40,000 lbs. I agree with someone else that balance really matters. We were pleased with the CPT overall, although we did have to send it back to California for a fix once. It did not seem to be user-serviceable - or at least for this user.
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Old 30-11-2018, 15:07   #10
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Re: Experience with CPT Autopilot?

Mine works great unless very rough conditions. Because of the way mine is mounted (the motor unit mounting arm flexes), the notched belt slips when under too much load (maybe a good thing--prevents breaking shear pin). My solution was to add about five pounds of weight to the motor. Now it will only slip under the worst conditions. Very happy with it.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:45   #11
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Re: Experience with CPT Autopilot?

Love my CPT. I couldn’t justify spending so much money for a below deck smart AP. The CPT was in our price range, was easy to install and works great for what it is.
Customer service is great, just call or email and they can answer any questions you might have.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:16   #12
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Re: Experience with CPT Autopilot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by winschwab View Post
Mine works great unless very rough conditions. Because of the way mine is mounted (the motor unit mounting arm flexes), the notched belt slips when under too much load (maybe a good thing--prevents breaking shear pin). My solution was to add about five pounds of weight to the motor. Now it will only slip under the worst conditions. Very happy with it.
You have the optional belt tensioner installed?
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:29   #13
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Re: Experience with CPT Autopilot?

44’ cutter with a 5’ bow sprit. 40,000#. Full keel, barn door rudder.

I much agree with Billknny above. We don’t have a below deck unit so when things pipe up, especially in gusts I have to hand steer. But also we have a steel hull which doesn’t do great things for the compass unit. It would be happier on a glass hull.

The NEW CPT Control Head appears to be substantially different from the older one and I don’t think any parts, outside the wheel ring and timing belt drive, are interchangeable.

Customer service is first rate. I recommend it.
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