Posted by: Waterbird on Nov-07-12 11:18 PM (EST)
I use my skeg as little as possible, even in wind, because it creates very noticeable drag. I would say it reduces my speed by about 20%.
I would rather correct my course by shifting my weight or leaning so that all of my energy is going into moving forward rather than correcting sideways drift. But of course there are times when leaning and corrective strokes are not enough and then a skeg is a good thing to have. But I would never use it on flat, windless water. And I wouldn't own a kayak that needed a skeg in those conditions.
But as you say, it depends on several factors. Over time I've made peace with my kayak's tracking and now adjust unconsciously.