No, there was a separate wind-vane accessory - I know, because I still have part of one! I used it briefly with an ST1000 but the autopilot was too small for my 33' boat, so I upgraded to an ST4000 which works fine - and will slave to the masthead wind instrument.I think you're referring to 'wind trim' mode where it uses info from the masthead wind 'vane'
Yes I remember using the windvane on a cross-channel night passage. It was mounted on a short pole and plugged into the earlier Autohelms with a jackplug. Had to trim initially to the compass so as to allow for the downdraught from the mainsail, but it worked really well, maintaining a beat all night - mind you it was a CO26 we were sailing!
I'm not going to recommend one over another, as I only have experience of the Simrad TP32.
I have used this regularly on my Westerly Storm 33, in weather upto Force 6, it has been used all day in pouring rain (more often than not up here ) and I have never had a single problem with it. If I remember correctly, it was a size up from the 'recommended TP22 (?) but has served me extremely well, holding a course well and the lack of an LCD screen has never proved any sort of disadvantage. Controls are intuitive and simple.
I'd buy one again in a heartbeat.
I must say, I have never noticed any significant or unmanageable power draw even after a long day of use.
I run a Simrad TP22 on my little 23ft boat, which is probably a touch overkill. Always seems to work ok. Links with GPS with no major dramas.
To be honest, all of them are over priced for the relative lack of engineering inside them but the Simrad has always worked (if a touch noisy)