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

Back for a second year, the Brian Black Memorial Award 2022 is open to entries. The award celebrates the best writing about marine environmental issues as explored by sailing boat.

Yachting Monthly is offering a cash prize for the best article about the marine environment as explored by boat for a second year. Thanks to award sponsors, marine electronics company B&G, a total of £4,000 is available for the winning entry, with £2,500 going to the author and £1,500 being donated to to 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. 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. Brian and Lesley's daughter Sarah Brown is Chair of the Sea-Changers Board and a much loved member of the Sea-Changers team. Sea-Changers is very proud to support and promote this wonderful award.


The award is again being sponsored by marine electronics company B&G. Company spokesperson Gemma Davies said: ‘B&G wants to promote those focusing on the marine environment and believes that sustainability is critical to the future of marine businesses’.

B&G 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.


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 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.


Dee Caffari MBE said: ‘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. 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 here.

All photographs credited to Brian Black