Please select your home edition
Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

An interview with Chris May on the Galveston Bay Cruising Association's Chili Chase Regatta

by David Schmidt 30 Nov 2023 16:00 GMT December 2, 2023

Like it or not, winter cometh. That we can't control. What we can control, however, is how we bid adieu to a great season of sailing. Different traditions abound, of course, and unfurl in different latitude-influenced months, but, for the Galveston Bay Cruising Association, this is done in December, with friends, with chili.

The annual Chili Chase Regatta (December 2) is a fun-minded race that's intended to a fun day afloat for experienced racers and as a welcoming environment for newer racers, who are encouraged to become involved in the coming season's racing.

The regatta is open to all boats, and it expects to welcome a wide variety of teams, from those racing with spinnakers, to those cruising with kites, to non-spinnaker classes, and multihulls.

And, given its moniker, the regatta involves a competition within a competition.

I checked in with Chris May, commodore of the Galveston Bay Cruising Association, to learn more about the organization's annual Chili Chase Regatta.

Can you please tell us a bit about the GBCA's Chili Chase Regatta, its history, its culture, and how the event got its colorful name?

This event was thought-up in the early 2000s as a closing race in our season. Given that this is about the time it finally starts to get cold locally, the idea [that was] dreamed-up was a pursuit race and chili cookoff combined.

Historically, there have been categories for chili [that's] actually cooked on the boat during the race, and land-based entries. It is fully meant to be a lighthearted and fun event to close our season.

How would you describe competition levels at the Chili Chase Regatta?

Generally, this is one of our "fun" series events, with fun for all the primary focus. Also given the pursuit style and short distance (12 nautical miles), we try to lure-out potential new racers as well.

What kind of entry numbers are you seeing ahead of this year's event? How does this number stack up against previous recent editions?

It can vary as people tend to watch the weather this time of year. Historically this is a fairly well-attended event with average entries in the 30-40 boat range.

Weather-wise, what kind conditions can sailors expect to encounter on Galveston Bay in early December? What are the best-case and worst-case weather scenarios?

It is coastal Texas winter, so it could be 75 degrees and 4-6 knots of breeze, or 45 degrees and 25 knots if a cold front decides to come through.

Do you see local knowledge playing a big or small role in the regatta's outcome? Can you please explain?

Not especially, as current is generally not a factor here.

But, as the saying for some goes goes, "never go right on Galveston Bay".

If you could offer one piece of advice to visiting (and local) sailors, what would it be?

Just come out. It is a fun event and one more chance to get out and be competitive and have some fun and socializing with your sailing community.

With everyone's busy schedule these days, we tend to forget how to do the basics and have some fun.

What kind of post-racing entertainment do you and the other organizers have planned?

The aforementioned chili cookoff is usually a hit, and provides the food for the party. As always, GBCA will have an ample supply of beer and rum to soothe the sore muscles from the race if it gets sporty.

Can you tell us about any efforts that you and the other regatta organizers have made to try to lower the regatta's environmental footprint or otherwise green-up the regatta?

We are an electronic only for our race documents, and [we] always encourage participants to do their part to reduce waste as well. This has generally become the common theme on the Bay.

Is there anything else about the 2023 edition of the GBCA's Chili Chase Regatta that you'd like to add, for the record?

Nope, it's a simple and fun-focused event. This about covers it!

Related Articles

From Hvar to Paris 2024
The Olympic Games are unique The Olympic Games are unique. Coming once every four years, it can be a once in a lifetime sporting opportunity. For the small Croatian island of Hvar, Paris 2024 is a first, as the island's first-ever Olympian will be competing, and he's a sailor. Posted on 23 Jul
Never again! (Except for next time…)
What's it like to take a Cruiser/Racer racing? And not just any old race What's it like to take a Cruiser/Racer racing? Not just any racing, mind you, but two of the world's most famous courses. The Transpac and the Hobart. This was the premise presented to Charles Ettienne-Devanneaux ahead of our most recent chat. Posted on 17 Jul
Whisper it quietly..
Don't say it too loudly, but the Youth Sailing Worlds are taking place next week Don't say it too loudly, but the Youth Sailing World Championships are taking place at Lake Garda in under a week's time. Posted on 9 Jul
It's upon us
Paris 2024 happens this month. Little wonder it seems like it has come back around quickly Paris 2024 happens this month. Little wonder it seems like it has come back around quickly, when this current quadrennial actually started in 2021. Still. Is what it is… 12 sailors comprise the Australian Olympic Sailing Team. Posted on 2 Jul
Make mine a Magnum
50 year old International Moth design gets a 21st century make-over In almost every respect, 'Magnum' was a 1970s classic, but 50 years on the Magnum Moth is about to get a 21st century make-over. Sailors wanting to join the growing Lowrider Moth fleet just have to ask themselves, "Do you feel lucky?" Posted on 27 Jun
Performance vs. Participation
Or Correlation vs. Causation? I've heard many a time that one of the reasons for a fall in participation in sailing is the increased performance of boats. Effectively, the skill level and athleticism required in high performance boats excludes a range of people from participating. Posted on 25 Jun
The latest kit for summer boating, rain or shine
Our pick of the latest kit Summer's finally here and the season is in full swing. Here's our pick of the latest kit for racing, cruising and enjoying the water, rain or shine. Posted on 19 Jun
It's just a stick
It was just like watching an enthusiastic kid It was just like watching an enthusiastic kid. Alinghi's Silvio Arrivabene was totally in the 'nothing to see here' mode, and moreover, was keener to get into the ‘maybe exceeding them' remarks about their targets. Did someone say, ‘Spinal Tap'? Posted on 17 Jun
Corinthian Spirit
The inaugural Corinthian J70 Worlds had a superb entry of 109 boats Sailing has gone through phases of being professional and Corinthian. Originally a pastime for the rich, then becoming a sport for everyone during the boom in the 1960s and 1970s. Posted on 11 Jun
Para, Inclusive and Open RS Venture Connect
We find out more ahead of the upcoming World Championship at Rutland, UK We speak to Dan Jaspers, who is responsible for International Sales and Business Development at the RS Marine Group, about the RS Venture Connect. Posted on 6 Jun