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Model club’s spirit is full scale

Men of Capital Area Model Boat Association make The Crossings their home water

Members of Capital Area Model Boat Association take part in races and practices at The Crossings of Colonie.

Members of Capital Area Model Boat Association take part in races and practices at The Crossings of Colonie. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

As Fleet Captain, Ted Smith of Clifton Park creates the course for the club’s races. Colored buoys are position in the pond for the sailboats to go around. Smith, 71, determines the pattern, which differs from race to race. Although the boats are built so they cannot capsize, a rescue toy tugboat named “The Urger” is always ready if something goes wrong.

Meixner said the club likes to have about six races on official race days so “everyone has a chance to win or improve.”

“We’ll select the buoys depending on the wind direction and sometimes the wind strength, too. We might make it a longer course if it’s a fairly windy day than we would if it was a really light wind day,” Meixner said.

Smith, who also has a 24-foot sloop in Lake George, is retired but wanted to continue to pursue his hobby.

“I love sailing. I like to race. It’s hard to race when you reach a certain age like I am. You gotta get crew and you gotta have good balance,” Smith said. “So (with model boats) I can keep on sailing without the bother.”

CAMBA runs from May to October, with three seven-week periods of scoring. Like golf, a lower score is better. After each period, a trophy is given to a winner. The races aren’t always about winning, however.

“People that don’t win a lot still have fun,” Meixner said. “Sometimes the most interesting race is the race within that race where maybe fifth, sixth and seventh are very tightly grouped and trying to beat each other. They’re having just as much fun.”

Plus, Meixner said, “no lead is safe with these boats.”

“You gotta sail hard all the way to the end,” he said.

The pond at The Crossings works as a perfect location for the club. Meixner said wildlife has never been an issue, but Smith hasn’t been so lucky.

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