boring hole in epoxy fill for downhaul hole

This happened on a Skerry, but could be applicable to many other boats.  After very carefully measuring and marking the exact center of the 1/2" fill, I merrily began drilling, thinking the bit would not "walk" because there was no woodgrain for it to catch on.  How wrong I was!  The bit went all over the place.

I re-filled the hole and will re-drill, this time starting with a 1/8" bit, followed by a 1/4" bit, and finally the 3/8".  Unless, that is, someone knows of a better method--please reply if you do.

Some possible solutions:  1. The above 3-bit method.  2. Making the initial hole larger than 1/2" so there is more than 1/16" epoxy surrounding the hole.  3. Installing the mast partner before mounting the seat and using a drill press to drill the holes (would probably need a helper for this).

Thanks for any ideas or suggestions.

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