Blanche Cook, whose business acumen and personal passion for yacht restoration made her a fixture in the superyacht scene, died following a battle with cancer on March 28. She was 58 years old.
A native of Auckland, New Zealand, Blanche founded Yachting Developments shipyard there with her husband, Ian Cook. They did so about three decades ago, focusing on refits and composite construction. As part owner and financial manager, Blanche took professional pride in running it. She enjoyed watching its apprentice program grow over the years as well. An admitted ardent fan of classic yachts, she took personal pride in the yard, too. In fact, the classic restorations completed by the shipyard were favorites. The famed J Class Endeavour is among the notable rescues given new life thanks to the family-run shipyard. These restorations, as well as new builds like the performance sailing superyacht Silvertip, helped put Yachting Developments on the global stage.
In addition, Blanche was active in other aspects of the marine industry. For example, she was vice chairperson of NZ Marine, a trade organization. Furthermore, through Yachting Developments, she and Ian were the first to sign on as partners for The Superyacht Gathering. Held just last week, the trade event celebrated and supported New Zealand’s large-yacht industry.
Blanche is survived by her husband Ian and daughters Bianca and Paige.
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is hosting a celebration of life for Blanche on April 4. All are welcome to attend.
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