Well, you CAN wrap chain around the drum and hand tail it whilst it rotates, and it will indeed bring in the chain. But one risks hand damage and chewing up the drum of the windlass
, so the practice has its drawbacks.
For reference, consider how roustabouts wrap chain around pipe strings to make and unmake coupling w hen working oil
rigs... and how few of them have all their fingers!
But I dunno how your PO used the windlass!