From 1993 through
2007, a familiar sight at our boat show exhibits has been my father,
Sydney Cook. Many who met him enjoyed his company, his British
accent, and if you were lucky, one of his many stories. Few knew
that he was known worldwide in his elite marine circle as a premier
marine engineer and naval architect.
My father grew up
in the port city of Kingston upon Hull, England. At an early age,
he was an eager student, and by the age of 21, had three degrees
in Marine, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering. At age 25,
Sydney was Chief Engineer of a Liberty Ship in the Royal Merchant
Marine; a position usually held by someone twice his age. Being
at sea, however, was in his blood; my grandfather had been a Chief
Engineer and sailed during WWI, and my greatgrandfather, a captain
on a tall ship in the 19th century. For 7 years, Sydney traveled
in the heroic convoys of World War II, and although many ships
had been sunk by the infamous U-boats near him, my father was
fortunate not to meet the fate of many mariners by being torpedoed.
Merchant Marine Ensign
After gaining years
of marine surveying experience, my father built the first supertanker
in post-war Japan. He also designed and built some of the most
fuel efficient, yet beautiful steam turbine cargo ships of the
My father was also
the Vice-President of Marchessini Lines for over forty years.
Headquartered in lower Manhattan at 26 Broadway, NYC, this position
took my father around the world dozens of times.
V.P. of Marchessini
P.D. Marchessini & Company Flag
By the time I was
14, my father had traveled 7 of those years, but we were to have
our time together at a later date, as he volunteered his ready
smile, time and effort towards my (then) new business in 1992.
Having my father in
our Fendergrip booth was certainly overkill. However, he was never
boastful, and to the contrary, was very humble while answering
customers' questions. I know that many customers who met him,
left with the feeling that they had encountered someone special.
My Dad had a long
life, and the last 15 years we shared together working at New
World Marine was especially something that I will always cherish.
Although death is expected at an older age, it is hard to express
the loss I feel. Although one's practical side knows how inevitable
death is, part of me is diminished at knowing that his bright
intellect and personality will not be seen again in this lifetime.
As Sydney would have
said, "All the Best".
you for visiting,
Given that my father
devoted his life to the sea,
the following poem
seemed most appropriate, and
was read at his
Gone from My Sight
I am standing
upon the seashore. A ship at my side
spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and
starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object
of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch
her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where
the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
at my side says "There, she is gone!"
Gone from my
sight. That is all.
She is just as
large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when
she left my side and
she is just as able to bear her load of living freight
to her destined
size is in me, not in her.
And just at the
moment when someone
at my side says:
"There, she is gone!"
there are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout
and that is dying.
Death is nothing at all
Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul's Cathedral)
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped
away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!