Jake Julien’s Rated X Crowned M32 World Champion

The teenaged skipper of the M32 catamaran Rated X wins the 2023 M32 World Championship in Newport Rhode Island on the final day of sailing.
Julien Jake and his teammates racing on the final day of the M32 Worlds
Julien Jake and his teammates on Rated X slingshot to a reach mark on the final day of the M32 Worlds. Stephen Cloutier

The perfect ending to a perfect season: Jake Julien, Keith Swinton, Rhys Mara, Julius Hallstrom, and Jeff McCooey won the M32 World Championship in Newport, Rhode Island. It’s the crown jewel of their dominant 2023 title collection which includes the North Americans, Winter Series, and Summer Series.

What’s Rated X’s key differentiator? “It’s my team,” Julien says, “it’s all them.”

“Jake is a really talented driver,” said tactician Keith Swinton. “He sails the boat really well and is uniquely open to advice from us. Nothing really phases him.”

That mental neutrality made all the difference in the final race. Only four points ahead of Jen Wilson’s Convergence, Rated X was called OCS. That could have been a deal breaker, but they battled back.

“One thing we have shown this year,” said Swinton, “is we can sail through the fleet. [After the OCS] we just had to remember that. It was a tough day today. We made it really hard for ourselves, but we did enough to get the win.”

“Today was a serious emotional roller coaster for us,” said Julien. “We definitely took the path of most resistance. All we had to do was stay ahead of Convergence, but it was a real challenge.” When Convergence snatched the lead back from Jake early in the final race, he “didn’t even want to think about that. I was thankful there was more racing to come.”

Don Wilson’s Convexity finished second, ending his three-year win streak at the Worlds. “It wasn’t how we wanted the event to go,” said the owner. Just before Worlds began, two of his crew were sidelined due to injury. Still, Convexity won the most races: five.

The start of the second day of racing at the M32 Worlds
The full M32 fleet lines up for a front-row start on the second day of racing at the M32 Worlds in Newport, Rhode Island Stephen Cloutier

Jen Wilson and her Convergence team rounded out the podium with the bronze medal. “We’re thrilled,” said Wilson. “We were right in the mix the whole week, and I think we were the only boat that didn’t have four big, husky professionals.”

She started the regatta in the vanguard position, but after numerous lead changes with Julien and finally one with Don, Jen finished in third place.

Never in the history of the M32 World Championship have organizers needed to pop non-alcoholic champagne. But 17-year-old Jake Julien and his Rated X team have ushered in a new era in the M32 fleet.