I know I'm one of few voices in the wilderness, but I would suggest that with a well-found boat and a decent crew, y'all are already WAY too far South.
On a Dufour 45 Norfolk to Marsh Harbour should be just over four days.
Crikey, now I gotta start agreeing with you!
I agree with Auspicious, Norfolk is a good jumping off place.
Last year I did the ICW and it was great becasue I am Australian and it was my touristy thing to do. But once done I dont need to do it again. I was doing about 50 nms per day and often times had to spend nights in marinas to fill the days in with motoring.
Going outside is only 675 nms, about 6 days and once outside the Gulf Stream you can see the current drops off a lot, and there's eddies.
Just plugging away at it will be much quicker than the ICW and much cheaper.
Someone with local knowledge may be able to do the beach hopping thing inside the west wall of the Gulf Stream, but I dont think thats necessary.
the ICW is nice but its loooooong.
A 6 day cruise is over within a week.
Great maths eh?!