Vesconite Marine

Vesconite is ideal for many marine applications. First tested as a stern tube bearing in 1977, it is suited to both dry and immersed applications – in fact water is an excellent coolant and lubricant.

Vesconite is extensively used for rudder and stern tube bearings. Vesconite’s internal lubricants make it eminently suited to upper rudder bearing applications where there are long periods between greasing or no greasing at all, or where water lubrication cannot be ensured when operating with light ballasts.

The hundreds of vessels equipped with Vesconite during the last 39 years – ranging from pleasure boats to tankers – testify to the desirability of long life, low maintenance Vesconite in marine applications.

Common Marine Applications

Benefits to Marine Applications

  • Vesconite does not swell or distort in water.
  • Vesconite does not delaminate or distort
    under higher loads.
  • Vesconite does not corrode.
  • Vesconite does not require lubrication.
  • Vesconite is resistant to oils and fuels.
  • Vesconite bearings are easy to fit and remove.
  • Vesconite prolongs shaft life

Material Comparison

Bronze has a high friction rating and requires lubrication. Vesconite is self-lubricating and has a low friction coefficient.

Elastomers lack dimensional stability and have a high thermal expansion. This is not the case with Vesconite.

Laminated and composite materials tend to absorb water and swell.

Rubber has high friction and causes stick-slip, resulting in vibration and high shaft wear

Vesconite Marine Case Studies
Vesconite bushings were fitted to an eight-cubic-metre, multi-purpose grab used to offload ships in Durban ‑ the port that handles the greatest volume…
The 36-meter Miss Silver sailing yacht has returned to her New Zealand birthplace for a complete refit, including fore and aft Vesconite…
Vesconite Bearings is the newest member of the 130-organisation-strong International Windship Association (IWSA), following its acceptance in August into the non-profit organisation…
A US supplier of marine parts has found considerable demand for Vesconite T-handle and flatter stern screw-in drain plugs for a particular brand of wake surfing boats built between 2006 and 2014. The original drain plugs were made of brass and also had a brass base. They were found to corrode due to galvanic corrosion, a process through which one metal corrodes preferentially when two metals are in contact with each other. They were also found to be hard to remove and required greasing of the thread, which is not ideal due to environmental concerns about lubrication in a marine environment.
A Gunboat 60, which was refitted in New Zealand, embarked on a Pacific voyage in late April with newly-installed Vesconite rudder pivots acting as the advanced sliding bearing, allowing smooth and effortless sliding of the retractable rudders when sailing in shallow water. Specialist marine engineering and design firm, Thorne Design, was contracted to improve the operation of the propulsion system that had been in place since the catamaran was originally built in 2014/15. 
A large-diameter six-meter lathe is expected at Vesconite Bearings’ South African factory in the next few weeks. The lathe will be able to machine extra-large-diameter bearings, which are in demand for marine mining, container ships, oil tankers, and equipment used to generate renewable power from tides, waves and currents.
The Slim, a Gunboat catamaran, has had its second set of Vesconite daggerboards installed. The new bearings operate noiselessly and smoothly and the wear-resistant material has a low coefficient of friction for easy lowering and retraction of the daggerboards. In addition, Vesconite is able to withstand high loads, an important feature when all the load of a 22 ton cruiser, hurtling through the sea at 20 to 30 knots, is placed on the two daggerboard bearings.
A New Zealand ship repairer, who has traditionally only used rubber bearings, ordered Vesconite Hilube ready-to-fit bearings for two sailing yachts. Vesconite Hilube bearings are considerably cheaper than rubber bearings, exhibit no squeal at low speed, last longer, and are easy to fit and remove.
A Vesconite rudder bushing has been an important part of the step-by-step dismantling, parts procurement and reassembly of the rudder of a 30ft Jeanneau Arcadia sailing yacht known as the Ghaaata. When an annual maintenance inspection revealed significant rudder play caused by the internal structure, Jeanneau Arcadia sailing yacht owner Jorge Veiga embarked on a full rudder replacement, including everything from the pins, bolts and bushings, through to the actual rudder. For the rudder bushings he chose Vesconite Hilube.
A Dutch-born couple installed a Vesconite stern bearing in their 43ft aluminium sailing yacht, from the designer Koopmans in Lelystad, when they were docked in Singapore in 2008. They chose Vesconite because they found a machine shop in Singapore that could make the polymer bearings, which are suitable for the submerged and corrosive conditions of the marine industry and have internal lubricants that allow for prolonged life where the setting is characterised by irregular greasing schedules, or no greasing at all.
Launched in 2009, the 515′ x 88′ oil/chemical tanker Celsius Birdie has thousands of bluewater miles under her keel. When it was time to replace a stern tube bearing, Guangzhou Shipyard International and owner Celsius Shipping chose Vesconite. The advanced high-performance marine polymer has a deserved reputation for long service life and proven reliability.
When Roy McBride, founder of CKD Boats, needed to select bearings for the yacht he was  building, he chose the one bearing material he knew would last: Vesconite. The ultra-low friction, self-lubricating polymer is the ideal marine bushing for applications above and below the waterline. After 19 years, there’s no sign of wear.
A+ Rigging uses Vesconite exclusively on mast and deck sheaves, boom gooseneck fittings, hydraulic winches and furling gear. Vesconite is an advanced marine polymer and is suitable for components that routinely have massive working loads, yet need to run freely without lubrication such as halyard sheaves.
Sand and silt wreaked havoc on the bearings of the Aqua Cat Cruises fleet of liveaboard dive vessels. That is, until the company’s 105′ x 36′ flagship, the Aqua Cat, installed Vesconite, the high-performance, low-friction polymer that was engineered to shrug-off particulates. With Vesconite, bearing service is now beyond six years.
Vesconite Bearings, the maker of advanced, self-lubricating polymers, in March dispatched several marine orders to Namibia, the Southern African country that borders Zambia, Angola, Botswana and South Africa. The three marine orders that were from a ship-repair-supplier company based in Walvis Bay, Namibia’s largest commercial port, which receives about 3,000 vessel calls each year and handles about 5 million tons of cargo.
After years of replacing white metal stuffing box bearings on Calloo of Wivenhoe, Martin Wibmer chose an alternative. In 2007, he used Vesconite, the advanced, self-lubricating marine polymer. A recent survey found that the bearing was still sound with hardly any noticeable wear.
When the stern tube bearing on the 490′ x 75′ container ship M/V Marine Rickmers began to fail, South Africa-based Elgin Brown & Hamer (EBH South Africa) replaced it with state-of-the-art, pollution-free Vesconite. The innovative self-lubricating polymer is far superior to oil-lubricated lignum vitae, white metal and composite bearings, especially with the implementation of ever more stringent environmental regulations.
Vesconite Bearings' marine bearings are currently certified by American Bureau of Shipping (ABS ), Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (Japan) (NKK), Bureau Veritas (BV), Lloyds Register (LR), Det Norske Veritas / Germanisher Lloyd (DNV / GL), China Classification Society (CCS) and Registro Italiano Navale (RINA).
Vesconite Bearings has been hard at work identifying the most common propeller shaft bearings used in the leisure marine industry. It has…
A company manufacturing hardware for sailing yachts, has used Vesconite as the material of choice for the pulley system of its newly developed sailing blocks. These blocks are part of the rigging system which operate the running rigging or ropes on yachts sails. These blocks need to be extremely robust and withstand high loads, without wearing to avoid loss in the sail’s performance.
British Columbia, Canada – A designer of recreational aluminium boats has specified Vesconite as a corrosion isolator on their latest hydrofoil supported catamaran designs. 3mm sheets of Vesconite are used as a layer between the stainless steel hydrofoils and the aluminium hulls they are bolted to.
USA – A manufacturer of top-end luxury catamarans required a suitable material for the daggerboard trunks on its flagship model. Vesconite’s hard wearing properties and lack of swell when subjected to water, made it the perfect choice.
A charter company operating deep-sea fishing expeditions required a tough and durable alternative to the standard handles and shafts used on its fishing reels. Its charter boats are launched from the beach in Mozambique - the equipment is exposed to sun, sand and salt water. The result is inevitable corrosion and loosening of parts.
Multi-million dollar expedition super-yacht builders McMullen & Wing required a low maintenance bearing material for its slipway trolleys that would not distort under wet and dirty conditions. The trolleys are exposed to oils, salt water and debris – an environment where traditional bearing materials suffered excessive wear and ongoing replacement.
One of the world’s leading companies in container handling uses Ottawa prime-movers to transport containers within wharves. These consist of a truck and trailer spanning 30m and transporting up to four twenty-foot (equivalent) container units at one time. The loads and forces on the axles are therefore considerable.
The waters of the Parana River tend to be wide and deep, with significant suspended debris and sand. Due to these abrasive conditions, rudder bearings on tug boats operating on the river are susceptible to rapid wear. The result is frequent dry docking for repairs.
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