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.
Ultra-low friction Vesconite has no stick-slip, making it ideal for use in sailboat deck, hardware, steering and propulsion applications. It provides a long wear life—up to 10 times that of bronze—even in dirty and silty conditions. Machining to exacting tolerances of +/-0.001″, it has exceptional dimensional stability and load strength, and threads easily.
“As a bearing material, it doesn’t seem to wear at all,” said Wibmer. “Mine is showing minimal deterioration after 12 years of regular use.”
Wibmer typically sails Calloo of Wivenhoe solo in the Moray Firth in northeast Scotland, but takes an annual cruise to the west coast of Norway. The 4.5 ton, 25.4′ x 8.4′ Bermuda-rigged sloop was built in 1962 using traditional plank-on-frame construction of Iroko over Canadian Rock Elm. He acquired the vessel in 1976.
Vesconite is available as custom precision-machined parts or raw stock. Hollow bar, solid rod and plate stock shapes are available in a broad range of dimensions and thicknesses.