I’ve owned an Autohelm 800 for a good many years, and it has seen service on several of my boats. I’m surprised the device still works after experiencing harsh conditions - once being under seawater when ‘Sandpiper’ nearly capsized.
I’m pretty sure I set it up on the port side within the cabin of my old Paradox. The rod pointed towards the bow. Looking at photos posted by Glen Maxwell to the Paradox Builders Yahoo! Group’s forum, I note that his Autopilot was mounted on the starboard side with the rod pointing towards the stern.
If you are a member of the Paradox Builders Yahoo! Group Forum you can see photos of Glen’s Autopilot by clicking this link: http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/paradoxbuilders/files/Zoe%27s%20Autopilot%20Setup
I shall be doing something similar, but I’ve not decided which side of the cabin I shall mount the Autohelm. At the moment I’m favouring the starboard side, from where it will be wired directly to the ship’s battery.
Like Glen, I linked my Autohelm to the steering line with cords, but that method was not really quick enough to engage, nor was it as positive as I would have liked, because there was always a certain amount of play. I’m trying to devise a better system.