Jerry, we need to discuss the forest briefly, not just this one tree.
You will not find a helm-mounted a/p that will be generally suitable for your 26K# boat. Helm-mounted a/p's can be used for motoring and light wind
sailing, and some motor
sailing but the minute your boat begins to see heavier wave action and/or meaningful weather helm
, the little muffin motor
in these products - even your CPT which has a beefier motor - will lack the power and sustainability to control the boat. Course holding will be lousy and eventually the motor will fail.
The CPT was designed by Charles Pukit who marketed it as a one-man biz for some years. It's claim to fame (at the time) was that the circuit board in the drive box could be immersed and still work
. Its electronics
are rudimentary and it offers to interfacing capability. We found the motor would begin to 'give' with much meaningful weather
helm and course holding was +/-5 degrees, at best. The business was later purchased by Scanmar to supplement their wind vane
biz but it never obtained much marketshare and Scanmar later abandoned the product. So...strike 2 is that it is to my knowledge currently an orphan product.
We used a CPT for a Caribbean
run and then when crossing to Europe
...but again, only in light conditions or when motoring. (Our boat is ~11 tons). When in The Netherlands
, the gyro began to fail and, in opening it up, I discovered it consisted of many plastic parts
which are basically unserviceable. I contacted Scanmar but they were about to stop supporting the product. I junked it, as Chuck did his, and replaced it with a Raymarine
We've now used 3 types of helm-mounted a/p's on our boat. The Simrad
(nee' Navico) WPT was clever but suffered from several internal shorts, it lacked the ability to display a variety of instrument data, and even after warranty support I feared for the unit's errant steering
at just the wrong moment. It rides along as a spare. The CPT is/was a poor 'third'. The Raymarine
product seems by far the best based on my experience, in all departments. But for your boat, and depending on how you use it, you might want to consider a below-decks a/p. You will find them MUCH more expensive but you will be getting something suitable in most conditions for your vessel.
Be sure you check the previous owner's steering mods; nothing takes abuse (or is more hidden, it seems) than the components of a quadrant steering system. Check bushings for wear, no chafe signs on the cables
, no lose idlers or pulleys - lots of things to go wrong over time, especially when original equipment