A mid-ocean loss of steerage due to a faulty rudder bearing wasn't a scenario Luke Fisher wanted to face, especially with a young family on board.

That's why when he built his 38' steel sailboat Bryana, he chose Vesconite, the advanced polymer that's a standard bushing choice on recreational and commercial vessels worldwide. It has since logged 30,000 nm without incident.

"I investigated many ways to bush the main rudder shaft and decided to move from traditional brass to a single, large Vesconite bearing," said Fisher. "It controls 13 tons of yacht through the toughest ocean conditions."

Because of its dimensional stability, high load strength and reliability, Vesconite was the perfect choice for the project. Internally-lubricated, the ultra-low friction polymer has no stick-slip, doesn't swell and provides a wear life ten times that of bronze. It machines to +/-0.001", making it ideal for applications with tight tolerances.

The bearing for Bryana's balanced spade rudder is 99.5mm x 77mm x 300mm. Fisher installed it himself using a homemade puller.

A radius chine Dudley Dix design, Bryana's hull and deck were built by Piet Boer Construction. With a long waterline and a 12' 6" beam, it has a D/L of 259. Fisher and a helper took 2,500 hours to finish the interior and fit-out the boat, primarily on weekends and after work.

"Our family competed in the 2,000 nm Governor's Cup—Simon's Town, South Africa to St. Helena," he continued. "The Vesconite bush on her rudder is still 100%." Fisher completed the race with his wife, son and daughter, and won the Ambrose Family Trophy.

Fisher sold Bryana in 2015. With destinations as distant as Malaysia and Chile, she has added over 25,000 nm to her log since the transfer.

Vesconite is available in North America 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. The polymer is used in numerous applications, including stern tubes, strut bearings and rudders.

Contact Vesconite, PO Box 40647, Cleveland, Johannesburg 2022, South Africa. USA: 713-574-7255; Fax: 212-937-3184. vesconite@vesconite.com; www.vesconite.com.

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