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Old 15-09-2014, 13:19   #1
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CPT autopilot opinions

I started a thread on this to keep from hijacking the other thread as this is one model specific.
What I'm asking is how many people have experience with this model of autopilot?
What were it's weaknesses? Failures?
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Old 15-09-2014, 13:35   #2
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Re: CPT autopilot opinions

We ran into an old cruising friend that we had last seen 14 years ago in the South Pacific while we were in Greece last year. They had completed a circumnavigation on a 50 foot sloop with a single CPT autopilot and spares.
We were looking for a backup to our below decks as I've always had a vane and an autopilot but this time we are going with an autopilot and spare.
After listening to him tell me what great luck he had with the CPT we contacted the new owner and found out that he had just completed his new update on this rather old design. He had about a dozen units out there with serious cruisers checking out the new unit before it went on the market.
I told him to give me a call when he was satisfied that the new model was perfected.
Several months later he sent me an email that he was ready to sell this new unit and I gave him the OK to ship.
I really can't say enough good things about his new unit, it has the power of the old one and hopefully the reliability as well as a modern compass and software to allow it to tack through any angle you want to select as well as make heading changes of 1 degree or 10 degrees.
We are really sold on this new model as it uses so little power. It will steer the boat under spinnaker and has been tested downwind in about 20 knots with white sails (sorry but thats all the wind we got)
Now I have one caveat and that is our boat tracks very well and is very easy on the helm so different boats might have different experiences but from our experience over the last year or so we give it an 8+
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Old 15-09-2014, 13:48   #3
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Re: CPT autopilot opinions

I followed David's blog when he was circumnavigating. He is one of the customer testimonials for CPT.

June 2010 S/v Shearwater, Conser 47 Catamaran

The CPT is very very good...and has become my main unit...
I'm in big seas....12-15 foot rollers on my port quarter with the odd series 20 foot and up. Hurtling down the faces reaching 17 knots today....3rd reef. CPT flawless.
Its amazing this boat...did 21.8 knots down a wave today...and amazing the CPT took it in stride.
So you see the sort of forces CPT is dealing with. So far I am pleased with Shearwater in those rather dangerous conditions...surfing...she has never seemed out of control...scary yes but always seems under control...nothing so far feeling like tripping over keels etc. Lets hope Iím right in my analysis so far.
Am closing in on Marquesas...have less than 1000 miles to go. all the best and thanks again for staying with me.
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Old 16-09-2014, 01:38   #4
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Re: CPT autopilot opinions

We have an older model and mostly it works really well. Just came back from Wide Bay to Mooloolaba and it worked perfectly.

However on my large steel boat a course change on the main control coupled with a roll of the boat can make life very interesting.

I now mechanically disconnect the autopilot before any major course change, make the change, allow a few moments to settle down and then reconnect.

I found that small changes to course (of only a few degrees!) are best made using the remote (supplied with the unit). Newer models now have the "fine tuning" and the rudder controls (Rudder and Deadband) on the compass module - a much better system.
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Old 16-09-2014, 03:40   #5
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Re: CPT autopilot opinions

Can't say enough bad things about the old CPT. Piece of sh!t really.
Glad to see it has been updated and now working the way it was supposed to.
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Old 16-09-2014, 05:29   #6
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Re: CPT autopilot opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by CSY Man View Post
Can't say enough bad things about the old CPT. Piece of sh!t really.
Glad to see it has been updated and now working the way it was supposed to.
So your saying it was a piece of crap, but now isn't?
Do you have experience with the newer one?

This thing is like everything it seems, some love it, many seem to despise it.
I've not heard many complaints of it breaking though, or excessive power consumption.
Most that i can find from searches complain about plastic gears, jumping belt in heavy use and the fact that apparently it makes course corrections in a motor on or motor off manner, IE, it jumps, no slow turn of the wheel.
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Old 16-09-2014, 07:57   #7
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Re: CPT autopilot opinions

I've got a new CPT for our 12-ton boat and we've used it often on our trip from the SF Bay area to LA. I think it's great. Works hour after hour, uses little power (less than 2 amp-hours), keeps a reasonable course, and is almost totally silent. No problems so far and it was easy to install. The new owners are responsive, reliable, and a pleasure to work with. I don't know about the older CPT's but I like the design of this one. The 2 knobs for adjusting for sea state are clear and easy to understand. The first knob adjusts the reaction time before it engages, ie steeper seas longer time before engaging. The other knob adjust how much it turns the wheel ie smoother water less degrees of adjustment. I do agree that course changes are a somewhat jerky wheel adjustment when the second knob is turned up but so what? It works. Again it works for me and it is SO quiet that I sometimes hit a button to make sure I have it on.
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Old 16-09-2014, 08:07   #8
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Re: CPT autopilot opinions

Quote:
So your saying it was a piece of crap, but now isn't?
Do you have experience with the newer one?.
Yes, the two CPTs I had never worked well if at all, yes, piece of sh!t would sum it up.

No, never tried the new ones, but according to testimony on this thread, they have been updated and now works good.

I replaced my last CPT with a Simrad wheel pilot and it was much better at steering, highly recommend for medium size sailboats. (Max displacement 20,000 lbs)
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Old 16-09-2014, 08:14   #9
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Re: CPT autopilot opinions

That's funny... I replaced our Simrad 32 wheelpilot with the CPT! The CPT keeps a course so much better and handles all the wind and wave conditions that the Simrad gave up on. I did keep our Simrad as a backup because it still works, but that constant squeaking motor noise on course adjustment drove me crazy and I hope to never need it.
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Old 24-10-2014, 09:53   #10
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Re: CPT autopilot opinions

Howdy,

I installed a CPT about a year ago. One of the reasons that I went with CPT was that a sister ship, Soggy Paws, has used one for many years and at least one circumnavigation.

Installation was easy and the unit steered my boat, which weighs close to 40,000 lbs, from Ventura to La Paz, MX, with nary a hitch. It is a really good AP, and the customer service/support is amazing. Highly recommend this company and product.

Cheers, Bill
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