Back for a second year, the Brian Black Memorial Award 2022 is inviting entries to celebrate the best writing about marine environmental issues as explored by sailing boat

Brian Black Memorial Award 2022: £4,000 prize on offer for environmental journalism

Yachting Monthly is offering a cash prize for the best article about the marine environment as explored by boat for a second year.

A total of £4,000 is available for the winning entry, with £2,500 going to the author and £1,500 being donated to the marine conservation charity, Sea-Changers on their behalf.

This year, the judges are inviting entries that focus on the issues of climate change and of biodiversity loss, and how these are impacting the marine environment as seen from the deck of a sailing boat.

Environmentalist, sailor and journalist Brian Black, who inspired the award. Credit: Black family

Environmentalist, sailor and journalist Brian Black, who inspired the award. Credit: Black family

To reflect Brian Black’s personal love of Arctic sailing, the judges will also highlight the best article about high latitude voyages.

The Brian Black Memorial Award was established last year in order to commemorate the lives of Brian and his wife Lesley Black.

Brian was a lifelong sailor, a television journalist for RTE in Ireland, UTV in Northern Ireland, and later through his own production company.

He was also a passionate advocate for the marine environment, writing and filmmaking about the crises facing fragile Arctic ecosystems. He was also a regular contributor to Yachting Monthly.

His wife Lesley blazed a trail for women in sailing, becoming the first female yacht club commodore in Northern Ireland, and was an author in her own right.


Sophie Dingwall’s winning article on plastic pollution’s impact on small Caribbean communities. Credit: Sophie Dingwall

The award is again being sponsored by marine electronics company B&G.

The company ‘wants to promote those focusing on the marine environment and believes that sustainability is critical to the future of marine businesses’.

It is reviewing its operations to find where it can be more sustainable, from using non-toxic inks and biodegradable packaging to supporting scientific research with its data platforms.

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The Brian Black Memorial Award 2021 was won by Sophie Dingwall, whose article ‘Polluted Paradise’, examined ocean plastic pollution and its devastating effects on Caribbean island communities.

Sophie said: ‘Winning an award with such a prestigious panel of judges and in memory of Brian Black is a privilege and gives me the confidence to continue with my mission to protect our oceans.’

The 2022 award will be judged by a prestigious panel including Volvo Ocean Race skipper Dee Caffari MBE; Vendée Globe veteran Mike Golding OBE; conservation expert Dr Bob Brown, and marine environmental consultant and daughter of Brian and Lesley Black, Sarah Brown, plus the Yachting Monthly team.

‘With our ocean’s health and the climate crisis becoming ever more important to our planet’s wellbeing I am delighted to join the judging panel for another year,’ said Dee Caffari MBE.

2021 prize giving with (l-r) Theo Stocker, Sarah Brown, winner Sophie Dingwall, Mike Golding and B & G's Gemma Davies

2021 prize giving with (l-r) Theo Stocker, Sarah Brown, winner Sophie Dingwall, Mike Golding and B & G’s Gemma Davies

‘It allows me to follow boating adventures through the writer’s accounts of exactly what they are witnessing out there and their thoughts about what can be done.’

Sarah Brown added, ‘The whole family has been delighted at the response to the first Brian Black Memorial Award. Mum and Dad would have been as moved by Sophie’s winning entry as I know the judges were. Now, more than ever, we need to highlight the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss and I am eager to read about how sailors have experienced these issues during their own boating adventures.’

Criteria Entries must be the original work of the author, not previously published and be 1,800 words in length.

Images should have been taken during your voyage and you must have written permission to submit the images for publication if they are not your own.

Entries should be submitted by 7 August 2022.

For full entry details, visit