Don't know if you have a backing plate or just washers behind that small cleat. Can you feel behind it? Is there space behind it to add flat washers and nuts? I have dealt with stressed cleats due to shock and overload and find that the weakest link in them are the bolts which will overstretch and bend. Now these bolts are usually thin enough to break before the backing plate is ripped off. I would surmise you are installing a larger cleat merely to be able to use a larger diameter line and not necessarily because you intend to increase the loads. I would try to avoid having to increase the diameter of the bolts too much. I would center the new cleat and mark where new holes are to be drilled. Make sure the diameter of the new holes does not overlap or be too close to the old holes. You may drill smaller pilot holes just to feel for the boundaries of a backing plate if it is there. In any instance, whether a plate or not I would add as large as possible flat washers to backup the new nuts and smaller locking washers. Match the hole in the washer to the size of the bolt being used. You could also offset the new cleat by using one of the existing holes and just having to drill one new one. In any instance fill up the old holes with epoxy and a dab of gelcoat. I'm sure you know to apply and drill through some masking tape to avoid cracks in the gel coat.
Hi Dave, I opened up the triangular panel as you said. The first hole for the cleat is 26 inches back from the bow, you really can't reach back that far and if you could Hunter has installed foam to fill the void area.Under boat information/Hunter resources/260/downloads you will find the first document which contains backing plate areas. Where there are machine bolts penetrating the deck are backing plates.
To access the area, you will need to pull out the triangular piece in the V berth by unscrewing the stainless steel screws out. That piece is wedged in but it will come out so be careful and don’t say bull fiddle sticks. Then you can determine what to do.
It helped me when you identified your boat. While at it check your drain hose fittings and make sure the bow eye is tight. Check that bow eye support. If replacing it is in order, use a piece of long round metal tubing.
Hope this help and advise repairs. Thanks
Great advice! Thanks for your responses Dave, I greatly appreciate it. Ill keep you postedOne last thing before you start cutting. The backing plate may be threaded or the nuts may be imbedded with the plate. If that were the case it would mean you could reuse the bolts if you find a cleat with the same mounting holes pattern. I can understand how old and weathered plastic cleats can loose their integrity and be prone to failure but if they can be easily replaced by new ones those should have the adequate strength to hold the boat. Another option might be to install a larger metal cleat in the center of the deck, in a more accessible location where in foul weather you may tie your port and starboard lines to the center and just thread them and wrap them through the plastic ones.
Caverun thanks for that info!!!! I have the diagram but was never able to determine the actual dimensions of the plate. I must have not looked at it closely. I saw #18 but missed the dimensions. 1000 thanks.The backing plate document that Crazy Dave mentioned shows the sizes of the backing plates. On the 260 #18 plates for the bow cleats are 3x6 inches if that helps.