Bob- thanks for the advice, next time I have the chance to turn the boat over I will do this.
The damaged area is not the actual bailers themselves- I fitted those brand new last year. It is the hull around where the bailers are. The inner and outer mouldings come together at this part of the hull, and there has been some sort of impact damage at this point in the past. The damage was sufficient that the bolt holes for the bailers were cracked and if the bolts were tightened up the heads would just sink into the hull. I have had to fit the new bailers using big washers and pan-head bolts which will not do my racing chances any good! This is all a little hard to explain.
Mike- thansk for that…. I do also have misgivings about cutting a hole in the floor in case the floor turns out to flex too much for the hatch to be able to work properly. Perhaps I could just install a little bung and bail using a pump with a thin tube attached, allowing me to reach the lowest point of the buoyancy compartment. But this will not help me fix the problem, which I think I can only do with some sort of access to the inside of the compartment.