I've been concerned about my bow eye for quite some time now. One of the external bolts failed a couple years ago and the entire apparatus has just been working itself loose.
I recently decided to give my '79 S&S a facelift and began stripping the graphics, pulling the swim deck, etc. Bored from pulling stickers, I thought I'd tackle that bow eye issue last night. I recall reading this thread, so I thought I'd give ThatsMrMastercraft's method a try.
Removing the Vent Cover is simple. To answer your question above: yes, it's glued on. Simple to remove. Just get a good box cutter/sheetrock scoring knife and cut the glue. Mine came off quite easily. Just don't pull on the piece too hard and you'll avoid breaking it. If yours is anything like mine, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly and easily it can be removed.
After trimming as much of the excess glue from the borders of the vent hole, I grabbed my RotoZip tool, took a deep breath and mounted my attack. Five seconds later, I was cussing myself for not tightening the bit before diving in as it promptly broke off and is now somewhere in the bow.
After replacing the bit, I decided to start small. I was originally planning on operating the bolt removal tool (ratchet/socket with a long extension), but I soon realized that wasn't going to happen - the angle just isn't there.
So, I thought I might be able to get my hand through a larger hole and went to cutting. My hand is rather wide (wear XXL - XXXL glove size), so, as long as you're not a pro football lineman, you should be able to make a large enough hole. It was definitely tight around my wrist, though.
The original hole was very rough, as if it were a mouth with teeth, so I used both a DeWalt grinder (with a sanding wheel) and a hand file to smooth it out.
Took some photos of the interior backing plate.
After cutting the hole, I took my compressor and blew the cavity out as much as I could. The Roto tool created a great deal of dust, so it helped with visibility. But I had a more important reason for blowing it out... Sticking my hand into a dark place isn't my favorite thing to do, especially if it's a great habitat for spiders, scorpions, snakes, etc (found a scorpion on my boat a time or two while in storage). I could see webbing in there, so I decided to heft that "ounce of prevention" in lieu of the "pound of cure." I know too many people who've spent time in the hospital due to nasty (Brown Recluse) spider bites. I later took a series of under-deck photos that picked up what looks like a healthy multitude of spider eggs, so I'm glad I did it.
I then took my smallest ratchet and a 9/16" socket (the longer one - the threaded excess of the bow eye requires it), stuck my hand in. The angle is tough, but I had just enough room, although my forearm got chewed up pretty good. Put some painter's tape (or whatever) on the edges of the hole if you don't like fiberglass in your skin. Being kind of a "Bull in a China Shop," stuff like that doesn't bother me.
Anyway, that's about it. It didn't take long at all to get the eye out - the entire process took maybe thirty minutes, if that. Most of that time was spent debating on whether or not to do one thing or another. Actual tool time was probably ten minutes.
When I pulled the eye out, it was bent. The threaded part of the new eye and the old was the same OD, but the actual smooth part - the eye itself - was thicker on the old one, so I decided to wait and get a heavier duty version.
Anyway, I hope this helps.