Re: to cut or not to cut. that is the question.
There are a few ways you can get it a part, but you will still need to install two new nuts for the new cleat. I don't think you have a choice but to cut an access hole. If you have room for storage, then install a water tight access port. If you can't fix it enhance it.
1968 Bristol 32 Keel/Crb Hull 26
Narragansett Bay RI USA