Our crossing of the Gulf Stream (last Monday, Feb 1) went well after a bit of a rough morning getting out of Hawks Channel (the water east of the Keys inside in the reef) with some weather that didn't move east as quickly as we hoped and caught us with our sails up in some pretty high winds. We scrambled to get the sails down and stayed inside until the storms finally move on. Once the wind and seas calmed a bit we put the sails back up and turned east. We were able to sail until the Gulf Stream caught us and then we had to turn the motor on and motor through the night. The seas were only 2-3 ft and the stars amazing so I was a happy camper all night and Kaylee got to take her turn on a watch - with assistance.
One piece of technology we have this time that we did not on our last trip is AIS. I don't know what it stands for, but it allows us to see all other registered AIS boats on our GPS and through an IPad application. We were able to see all the 'big' boats (tankers and cruise ships) that were within about 40 miles even if we couldn't see their lights. It also tells us their name, size, heading, speed, destination and calculated closest passing point. It is greatest thing for understanding what is going on around us at night. It also lets us communicate with them easily by radio if needed since they can see us too and know our name. We do not have radar so this has been a great addition.
We made it on to the Banks early Tuesday morning and enjoyed a gorgeous sail all day even though we had to tack into the winds. We anchored that evening out in the open with light winds and no fear of an anchor dragging since there was absolutely nothing to hit for miles. The next morning we continued east toward the northwest channel and the Tongue of the Ocean.