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Old 20-01-2015, 17:43   #1
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CPT autopilot plus Monitor windvane or just W-H autopilot?

After going around in circles I have been trying to decide on one of two options. My boat is a Coronado 41 which I have been refitting her completely over the past several years. I plan to go down the ICW this fall and then head into the Carribean and hopefully visit Cuba.

Option 1: the CPT autopilot coupled with the monitor windvane?
Option 2: the W-H autopilot alone.
As much of the sailing will be shorthanded I'm trying to make a final decision.

Can you wade in as to what you would choose?

Fair Winds to all

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Old 20-01-2015, 18:05   #2
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Re: CPT autopilot plus Monitor windvane or just W-H autopilot?

My view of the world is if you are crossing oceans a vane makes sense, if you are not get a decent autopilot and be done with it.

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Old 20-01-2015, 19:02   #3
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Re: CPT autopilot plus Monitor windvane or just W-H autopilot?

Have and highly recommend the CPT autopilot. Been using it over ten years.

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Old 20-01-2015, 21:07   #4
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Re: CPT autopilot plus Monitor windvane or just W-H autopilot?

I favor wind vane self steering. Virtually indestructible and easily repaired if anything did go wrong. Don't have to generate electrons for it to work. No sensitive electronics to screw up. If set up right and works on boat, will steer the boat if it will sail. Can use a cheap tiller pilot to put course into the vane to have a very low power drain autopilot. This may not work under power so test it out first.

Have a WindPilot Pacific Plus auxillary rudder self steering system that steers the boat almost all the time. Steered all the way to Hawaii without a hitch in fairly light winds sailing DDW. Had a Raymarine wheel pilot that worked fine under power but wouldn't steer the boat under sail. Got rid of the wheel so am back to the tiller pilot.

Had an Aires Pendulum Servo on the last boat that steered the boat about 100% of the time sailing to Tahiti and back and probably 99% of the total time underway.

There was a Monitor Vane for sale on Ebay just recently with wheel adapter. Asking something over $2,000. Don't know if it's still available, did not sell on first go round.
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
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Old 21-01-2015, 07:03   #5
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Re: CPT autopilot plus Monitor windvane or just W-H autopilot?

My opinion is that the route and cruising grounds you are heading to has mostly day sails or single overnights. I think the cost and hassle of mounting a windvane is not worth it for this cruise. It will for sure be useless in the ICW, and daysail routes around the Bahamas will be so circuitous that you will probably stop fiddling with a vane and just use your AP anyway. I would get a good below deck autopilot.


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Old 21-01-2015, 07:44   #6
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Re: CPT autopilot plus Monitor windvane or just W-H autopilot?

My experience with a Monitor self steering system on my old Hinckley Bermuda 40 yawl was less than spectacular. It did best when on the wind (+/- 10 degrees) but not so well with wind abaft the beam. I was using it when cruising Downeast Maine, Bay of Fundy, Grand Manan, Nova Scotia - mostly coastwise cruising. Bottom line there: I really didn't trust the monitor and always backed it up with an Autohelm 6000. One day my 8 year old daughter and I were in the dinghy heading for the boat and she said, "Daddy why don't you take that thing off the back of the boat? It looks stupid!" I mentioned her comment to the foreman at Hinckley's and he said in his thick Downeast accent: "Way-al, when they're right, they're right". So I Had Hinckley's take the damn thing off. I was able to sell it for almost what I paid for it - to a man with an Alberg 35 and he had good results and was happy with it. The Alberg 35 is the "big brother" of the Alberg 30 that Yves Gelinas sailed around the world with his self-designed Cape Horn wind-vane/servo-rudder system.

However, I believe that different hull shapes and boats have different responses to wind-vane steering. Nonetheless, I "upgraded" to a Sou'west 50 with basically the same underwater profile as the Bermuda 40. I was not interested in giving vane steering another try even though the SW50 will usually self-steer if her course is with the wind forward of the beam. On the SW 50 I have two autopilots, a Simrad with a hydraulic steering ram and an old reliable Wood Freeman and 1680 amp/hrs fueled by 8 Rolls Surrettes in the house battery banks!
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Old 21-01-2015, 08:01   #7
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Re: CPT autopilot plus Monitor windvane or just W-H autopilot?

It is my personal view that this is really a no brainer, particularly if you are going to be sailing short handed.

For the ICW, you will be using the Autopilot or hand steering. But presumably you will be going off shore on the way to South Florida as well. (Why would one use the ditch south of Beaufort, NC?) Autopilots work great when they work. But they fail. I was doublehanding to Bermuda in June when the below deck Type 2 Raymarine failed on a 44 footer. We two hand steered the remaining 325 miles. It got done, but it was less than fun. Fortunately the weather cooperated. A new unit was installed in Bermuda by the Raymarine dealer. It failed 2 months later.

Conversely, a friend did a circumnavigation on a Nordic 40 using an Alpha 3000. He had a Monitor as well as a back up but only need it once. But if that once is on a 400+ mile run in 20+ knots with only two aboard or worse just by yourself, you'll be so sorry that you have $2K in the bank and not in stainless steel bolted to the stern of your vessel. Plus when you are done with your travels, you'll likely be able to sell the Monitor for what you paid for it if you buy it used.

Short handed crews use belts and suspenders! Sounds like a great trip. But it never hurts to be prepared.
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Old 21-01-2015, 09:26   #8
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Re: CPT autopilot plus Monitor windvane or just W-H autopilot?

On my Pearson Vanguard I had an Aries and a tiller Pilot. The Aries steered anytime there was wind from any angle way better than I was used almost all the time; across the Gulf of Mexico, down the coast of California and extensively throughout the Bahamas and Florida. The tiller pilot was used when motoring which was very infrequently. I felt it was the perfect combination.
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Old 23-01-2015, 11:38   #9
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CPT autopilot plus Monitor windvane or just W-H autopilot?

I recently purchased a Pacific windpilot, on CL.
Very compact unit, strong, the Monitor is huge, in comparison.
I love the fact that the pacific pilot model can be stored aboard.
And mounted as needed.
So, left attached and left in the idle position.
A few things to look for in these models, when buying used.
Google it. Wind pilots work best in stronger winds, when the Electric ones can't handle the conditions.
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Old 03-05-2015, 22:21   #10
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Re: CPT autopilot plus Monitor windvane or just W-H autopilot?

I have both the Monitor windvane and recently installed a new CPT . The only thing they have in common is their both auto pilots.
both independent operators , in other words they rely on no other system to do their task.the CPT has impressed me and is great for coastal waters and winds under 25 knots. The Monitor is great offshore, in open water where wind is more reliable and works better as the wind gets stronger. If you will be going offshore I recommend going this route. If not go with just one under deck autopilot, the Windvane is of no , or little use in tight routes like the ICW or coastal waters.

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autopilot, monitor, wind, windvane

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