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Anchor Windlass Room


The anchor windlass room is located on the first platform deck forward near the bow of the ship. Anchor chain and anchors are raised and lowered by means of an anchor windlass. The windlass may be run in either direction and is controlled from the deck. This consists of an electric motor connected vertically to a shaft, around the top of which is fitted a wildcat, the portion of the anchor windlass that grabs the anchor chain. The wildcat is a concave, vertical drum-like contrivance with ridges around it, and these ridges are so shaped that they will engage the links of the anchor chain. The wildcat is constructed so that it may be either rigidly attached to the shaft or left free to rotate around it. On the lower end of the wildcat is a grooved braking surface. Braking effect is secured by screwing a friction band, fitting in the groove, up against this surface.

When a ship is riding to its anchor, the chain is secured with from one to three stoppers, the wildcat is disconnected from the shaft, and the brake is set up taut. A deck stopper consists of a pelican hook and a turnbuckle inserted in a short length of chain. It is secured to a permanent pad eye on the deck. The stoppers augment the holding power of the brake; disconnecting the wildcat avoids possible damage to the anchor engine. This hook-us also facilitates veering, running out more chain when the anchor is already down. This may become necessary in rough weather or under circumstances which increases the danger of dragging.

Above the wildcat there is a concave metal barrel, called a capstan. This too operates either free or on the shaft. It is used for handling heavy weights, mooring lines, etc. On destroyer escorts, the capstan was often used for raising the whaleboat.

Anchor windlass room aboard the USS SLATER DE766
Anchor windlass room aboard the USS SLATER DE766

Diagram of anchor windlass
Anchor windlass mechanism

Location of anchor windlass room
Anchor windlass room location


Historic

 

Pre-Restoration

Anchor windlass room pre-restoration
Anchor windlass room before restoration

Current

Anchor windlass room after restoration
Anchor windlass room after restoration