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Renowned Northern Sailor & Arctic Explorer Brian Black Dies in Tragic Accident

4th August 2020
Brian Black was a noted Arctic sailor and environmentalist who was profoundly concerned by the deterioration of climate conditions globally, and particularly in high latitudes Brian Black was a noted Arctic sailor and environmentalist who was profoundly concerned by the deterioration of climate conditions globally, and particularly in high latitudes

Brian Black, the multi-media communicator, Arctic sailor, and environmentalist, died today (Tuesday) after a tragic accident at noon when his car plunged off the pier at his home village of Strangford in County Down. Originally best-known as a presenter with UTV while also putting in a brief period in the 1970s with RTE, over the years his deepening involvement with environmental concerns – and particularly with the deteriorating condition of the Arctic – had brought him to a wider and sometimes global audience, and he was a recognised expert on the coast of Greenland and its Inuit people - he voyaged there on many occasions, ten of those voyages being in command of his own boat.

For sailing was another of his many interests, in fact it was originally his main leisure interest, and he and his wife Lesley – a sailing writer herself who sadly died of cancer last September – shared several interesting seagoing yachts, the most recent and current one being the Seastream 34 Pavanne. He became a member of the Irish Cruising Club 39 years ago, and since then his huge breadth of experience and knowledge saw him take a Masters in the Open University, become a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and be appointed as a Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster.

In time his television career developed to the stage where he was directing and producing his own nature and environmental films, and long after he had officially retired from regular work, he was prepared to go and talk with enthusiasm and total commitment to any group who shared his concerns about the environment, and his joy in the full potential of nature. Brian Black was a one-off, and utterly convinced in his dedication to his deeply felt beliefs and interests. Our heartfelt condolences are with his family and friends and colleagues in their tragic loss.

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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