Spotting a ‘pirate’ ship on the horizon, fearless Dartmouth lifeboat crews took to the high seas on Wednesday night to draw up alongside the black three-masted vessel.

After greetings of ‘O’aargh me hearties!’ they set about practising safe crew transfers between their Atlantic 84 RIB and the El Galeon Adalucia, some five nautical miles offshore.

The action was all part of the lifeboat crew’s training exercise, which involved the 17th Century Spanish galleon replica, which was making it’s way to this weekend’s Pirate Festival in nearby Brixham.

On its Facebook page, Dart RNLI Lifeboat said: “During tonight’s training exercise, the Atlantic 85 crew navigated to El Galeón Andalucía, approximately five nautical miles offshore to practice pacing, coming alongside and safe crew transfers - tricky in a one-metre swell whilst moving!

“This tall ship is a 50m, three masted replica of a 17th century Spanish galleon and even has canons!

“They are on their way to Brixham for The Brixham Pirate Festival so pop along this weekend for a tour of the floating museum El Galeon!”

From the 16th to 18th centuries, galleons took the lead role in the trade and cultural routes named the Indies fleets.

El Galeon was built in 2009 by the Nao Victoria Foundation. She covered more than 48,000 nautical miles between 2010 to 2016, making passage in the world’s biggest seas and oceans, visiting ports in four continents, and participating in a host of cultural projects.

El Galeon has sailed across the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Southern China Sea, Aegean Sea, Bosporus Strait and Caribbean Sea. Visitors have stepped onto her decks in a hundred ports all over the world.