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The Windlass Aboard the Cruiser OLYMPIA

By Patrick McSherry
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Moving forward along the OLYMPIA's Berth Deck, the visitor will pass a stark steel structure housing the ammunition hoist/turret support structure for the forward eight inch gun turret. The structure is the same as was seen in the Senior Officers' Staterooms, but no effort has been made to disguise the structure. The crews' area is utilitarian.

The windlass aboard the Cruiser Olympia

This is a view of the windlass, in the tight quarters forward of the forward turret amuniton hoist. A portion of the structure of the ammunition hoist/turret support structure is visible at right.

Just forward of the ammunition hoist, the visitor finds himself facing the large windlass. This large, steam-powered system raised the immense five ton anchors and the four separate additionally heavy anchor chains. The incoming chain was directed down below the windlass and into chain lockers directly below. When going into battle, the anchor chain was pulled out and strung at crucial locations to serve as additional armor. The ammunition hoists were a typical location for the chain to be used.

The steam-powered windlass was a major work saving device for the crew. Formerly, raising anchor was back-breaking work that could consume a days effot for the crew.

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