Autopilots

We have a robust old autopilot whose drive unit is said to be the starter motor from a 1929 Buick. I kid you not. Wise engineers tell us it is bomb-proof and we must never get rid of it. So we won’t. It has two problems – first it has a voracious appetite for amps. Even when the boat is carefully balanced it draws up to 13 of them. Second, it has a clutch which is not at all forgiving, so that each on-phase commences with a snatch which the pedestal chain does not like at all.

So in Gibraltar I bought an elegant little CPT pilot, a simple and well built belt drive unit which is positively ampere-anorexic. Max and I have installed it here and I will be interested to try it out.

Of course, in these fresh trade winds the wonderful Mr Aries will be doing all the work. Only in light airs with residual swell does he struggle.

The US made CPT autopilot is beautifully built.  Because I ordered our unit while I was away from the boat I had to make some guesses as to correct belt size. I was wrong, as usual. I must say, the assistance I received from Jeff Swedberg at CPT was superb. He had the correct belts delivered to Cabo Verde and worried until I could confirm their safe arrival. If the autopilot is as good as the CPT after-sales service I will have no complaints. Thanks, Jeff.

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