My thoughts are to use flat water days as training days. It may be a tiny bit more efficient with the skeg down (I've heard 5%), but what happens to your skills and muscles? I would rather struggle a little more on a calm day so that I'm in shape with sharpened skills when I need it most.
A friend and I used to throw a tennis ball back and forth on calm days. We would toss it in front of each other's boat and the receiver has to edge and use steering strokes to grab the ball. It broke up the boredom of flat crossings and increased skills. We would do it in rough water as well, but has a few pleasure boaters coming over to see if we were OK. I guess the throwing motion looking like panicked waving sometimes.
I'm sure using the skeg is more efficient (and a rudder even more so), but unless you're a racer, I don't see the need.
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