The anchor winch on the Gyrfalcon is a major piece of work. Built in 1941, it has been lifting the anchors ever since. The anchors are no toys – each one weighs around 600 pounds. The port anchor has around 100 feet of heavy chain, followed by around 600 feet of steel cable. The starboard anchor has around 900 feet of chain. Both require a large rugged winch.
Originally, the winch was powered by a 110V DC motor. This high-voltage motor developed the amount of torque required to power the winch. Approximately 20 years ago, the DC motor was replaced with hydraulic drive. Other than that, the winch is original (and now 76 years old).
We knew that the winch needed work. There was quite a bit of damage to the base, where the steel had rusted out. When we were renovating the forward stateroom, one of the large nuts on the end of a bolt that fastened the winch to the deck broke off and crashed to the floor of the stateroom , narrowly avoiding taking off the end of my nose, and other assorted body parts.