Time: 3 Hours over 2 Days
Bravery Level: 3 Star - You have to drill another hole in your tiller.
One of the most fun things I've added to the Christopher-Jin is the Auto Pilot by Raymarine. I have the Model ST1000 Plus and it works great. I bought mine at West Marine. Set your bearing on the ST1000 Plus and that baby will hold you rock steady on the mark. It is quiet and powerful and just what the doctor ordered when you're single-handing. It can even interface with a GPS and run a course.
Raymarine. I rigged a Velcro strap onto the Back Stay so I can pop the ST1000 Plus off and get it out of the way of the tiller without have to dismount it.
The starboard combing is the recommended attachment point but you can attach to the port side as there is a reversing function on the ST1000 Plus.
The scariest part was drilling a hole in the Tiller. That is the last thing on a sailboat that you want to weaken. But, so far, no worries.
Contrary to Bob's advice, I am always drilling holes in the Christopher-Jin. To neaten the installation of the ST1000 Plus I used the provided template and mounted the electronics connector to the back of the starboard bench as tight into the corner as possible. Keep in mind that you don't want to go too far into the corner as you must be able to screw in and remove the connector.
My third time out with the ST1000 Plus, Bob, Jamie and I cruised from Lake Front Park to Metro Beach averaging between 5 and 6 knots. The wind, she was a blow'n.
The waves were 2 to 3 feet and the ST1000 did all the steering, there and back! She performed flawlessly.
A side note: We had 4 foot waves on a following sea for the last 15 minutes of our journey. It was dark and cold. The prop on the outboard kept breaking the surface and I have to admit...I was starting to get sea-sick. Needless to say, I was one happy skipper to see our home port.
Being the ever curious scientist, I checked my amp meter while the ST1000 Plus was under load. It would draw a momentary 10 amp spike. We ran the unit for about 4 hours that night and the House Battery held up fine.
Photo coming soon.