Are you looking for an AP to be driven by data (waypoint) from GPS
and or wind
Speaking from my experience.... I single
hand for 30 yrs on a 36' 16K displacement sloop
. I've upgraded most of my electronics
over the years but the 25yr old Alpha 3000 below decks is still working fine... only one software
up grade and replacement of a shorted drive. It's driven the boat 30-40,000 miles and most of then offshore
between New England
and the Caribbean
. The Alpha does not accept any GPS
enters the course heading and adjusts the response of yaw etc. I don't know how the cost of an Alpha 3000 compares to what you are looking for... but if it does I would recommend you look into one.
I don't use many waypoints .. as in routes... I have a small library of them or just set on and get the ctw and enter it manually into the AP. I use both a small Garmin
Ique 3600 (old) and now an B&G Z7 in the cockpit
to see the charts and the boat's position on them. Both these units show a heading line and I can also simply adjust the AP heading while observing the plotter and the chosen waypoint. Very simple and rather inexpensive. The Z7 cost me $700+ and as a full on MFD can accept all the usual inputs if I want to connect.. weather
, wind, video and so forth.
I mounted the Z7 bracket to a square metal rod which fits into a winch
under the dodger
.. plug it into for power with a weather
proof BlueSeas 12v cig plug. I can use it below decks... or take it with me for a delivery
if need be... and lock it securely below decks. Both are touch screen
. The IQue requires a stylus... the Z7 works with your finger. I will probably "retire" the Ique... as the Z7 has a larger screen
and you don't need to stylus and its mounting is more "secure".
I have a RayC80 with radar and AIS which drives some cockpit
repeaters as well... including a KVH compass
which is also a GPS repeater...but aside from AIS and radar use I don't go below decks to look at it much aside from entering a waypoint.
My systems are not integrated and there are advantages... I am not sure of the advantage of putting all your eggs in one basket.... but this seems to be the direction the industry is trending.
Keep it simple...