Sailor Signing

Cleared for take-off, flight controller Luke Parkinson returns

The latest member of the INEOS Britannia sailing team has been confirmed. Australian native, Luke Parkinson, has re-signed with INEOS Britannia for his third consecutive America’s Cup Campaign as Flight Controller on board the racing AC75 foiling monohull. 

“I feel very privileged to join the team again. I am really looking forward to this Cup cycle as Challenger of Record. We can use this positioning to our advantage by using our experience from the last campaign to be a stronger contender for winning this campaign.”

Growing up in Perth, Western Australia, Parkinson has always been on the water. At a young age he caught the competitive bug, “I really enjoyed the going-fast element and chasing the fastest possible speed I could.” This led me to compete at the World Championships, and then onto the 29ers, 49ers, Moths, 18-foot skiffs.”

HARRYKH
© Harry KH
Harry KH

It was this depth of experience growing up that gained Parkinson the invite to the 2013 Youth America’s Cup in San Francisco as a sail trimmer. This was Parkinson’s first taste of America’s Cup Racing. After San Francisco, Luke joined the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Team, winning the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race. Since that victory, Parkinson competed in the 35th America’s Cup, as well as competed in another Volvo Ocean Race.

Pictures of the British Americas Cup team led by Sir Ben Ainslie â??Team INEOS UKâ?. Shown here in action training at their winter base camp in Cagliari.Italy. Credit Lloyd Images / Mark Lloyd - Cagliari - Italy
© Lloyd Images / Mark Lloyd
Lloyd Images / Mark Lloyd

As Parkinson looks to his third America’s Cup campaign, he is particularly focussed on the technical changes taking place. “This time around, there are some changes to the foils. We are going to be able to foil in less breeze as the foil arms are longer and the weight characteristics are different. There is scope for the class to move forward.”

Commenting on Parkinson’s re-signing, CEO and Team Principal of INEOS Britannia, Ben Ainslie, added:

“Parko is a very intense character. He is so motivated to win and be successful, which really drives the team on and off the water. I believe that he is the best flight controller in the game, showcasing his skill in both the America’s Cup and SailGP Circuit. He has the ability to fly the boat closer to the edge than anyone else.”

© C GREGORY

With the venue for the 37th America's Cup yet to be announced, Parkinson has been enjoying his Australian summer, practicing his offshore sailing, as well as racing his 18ft skiff. For the majority of the past year, meanwhile, he has been putting his racing skills to the test with Ben Ainslie together onboard the Great Britain SailGP Team F50.

As Flight Controller has been actively involved in the design process for the team’s new foils and AC75. It is getting out on the water in the new boat with his teammates again, however, that he is most looking forward to:  “The most exciting thing for me that keeps bringing me back to the America’s Cup is the team environment and teamwork that is required to get the boat around the racecourse. As a team, I am looking forward to just being able to race again.”