(realizing this thread is 9 months old or so)... Having done that same trip a few times, it's so short anyway that it's better just to head for Frying Pan and then direct to Beaufort. We went through Frying Pan Shoals Slue our last time at around 2am-ish (the buoys showed up great on radar - right where the GPS had them). I think the time you take to get the easting for a few knots of extra speed is a wash, although I'd have to run it through my charting software to absolutely verify. The only advantage you had this time, due to the NE winds, was that you could probably put your mainsail up to steady your hull. If you had gone direct from the shoals to Beaufort you probably wouldn't have been able to put any sail up (without it luffing like mad).
s/v "Pelican" Passport 40 #076- Finished Cruising - for the moment -
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