One of my really miserable Gulf Stream crossings...yes, I know...what was I thinking, when I misjudged the weather forecast...but, I was taking green water over the bow, and it was shooting through the hawser holes, like cannon shot. I soon discovered that I had water getting into the bilge from the bow area. I could see this by the water in the forward bilge by the forward head. How in the world is this water getting into the bilge, I ask myself.
After arriving in Bimini, I started to look around at those hawser holes from the inside and outside. Standing in the dingy, under the bow sprint, I noticed that there was gaps between the pieces of teak trim and the hull and bottom of the bow sprint, underneath. I removed these pieces of teak..port and starboard...to find large holes where the hull comes up to meet the bottom of the bow sprint. Water under pressure was just shooting right in. So, a whole cartrage tube of 5200 later, and teak replaced, that problem was fixed.
Now you are wondering, what this has to do with the hawser holes. When I was hauled out later on for a bottom job, I had rust bleeding down from some SS screws on those forward hawsers. BTW, my hawsers are bronze, with SS screws. I started to remove them, only to find out that the screws would break off, and they were machine screws, that were threaded into a piece of plane old steel. Outside screws were threaded at different intervals to the inside screws. Interesting construction....a steel plate, glassed into the area between the outside hull and the inside deck hull. The plate itself was completely shot. When I did get them off, I also found that there was a great LACK of caulking there to seal them, inside and outside. The hull/deck joint there is hollow...and water can get in there to the bilge also...steel plate, bronze hawsers, and SS screws, a battery in the making...just add salt water.
Moral, if you remove them, make sure you seal the outside flange and the gap between that and the inside flange, and check to see if you have a steel plate imbedded in there.