Here is a extract that may help with understanding the initial/primary phase of the windlass mechanisms --


Imagine you have a rope wound around a drum a few times and then attached to a weight . Imagine also , that the rotation of the drum can be influence by an adjustable friction brake .
Ok , so now put the brake of full so that the drum does not turn at all . Throw the weight off the roof and as soon all the slack is taken up the rope will be pulled suddenly tight ,and if the weight is great enough and travelling fast enough , the rope will snap .

Now go back and adjust the brake on the drum so that it pays out line as desired . Now , when the weight drops and all the free line is used up , the drum can still rotate paying out more line against resistance bringing the weight to a more gradual stop . The drum and friction brake represent the initial engagement of the windlass and the eccentrically contracting toe extensors respectively .

I suppose another way of seeing the same thing would be the action of arrestor wires on an aircraft carrier . It's about kinetic energy and not just static forces .

Gerrard Farrell

scotfoot, Mar 17, 2018