Three north-east lifeboat crews joined forces for marathon overnight rescue this week.
RNLI Lifeboats from Montrose, Aberdeen and Peterhead took part in a 18-hour rescue mission off the north-east coast during Wednesday and yesterday.
A 110-year-old classic iron-built sailing barge raised the alarm at 2pm on Wednesday, requesting assistance 60 miles east of Montrose.
The Ian Grant Smith launched from Montrose lifeboat station and made her way to the scene, despite high winds and building swell.
The sea was described as rough when she arrived on-scene.
They helped to tow the sailing vessel towards Aberdeen, which was chosen as the rescue destination due to it being downwind.
Aberdeen’s Severn-class lifeboat Bon Accord was paged to launch at 7pm, tasked to take over the tow from Montrose Lifeboat at a position some 20 miles east of Stonehaven.
The rough conditions caused the Bon Accord speed to be reduced, but the two lifeboats met at about 10.30pm, where they took over the tow.
This allowed the fatigued Montrose crew to return to their base after spending nine hours out at sea.
The Bon Accord arrived off Aberdeen at about 2am, but the conditions were too rough to safely tow the casualty vessel into Aberdeen Harbour.
Coxswain Davie Orr decided to continue the tow to Peterhead, requesting the Peterhead Lifeboat to meet them off Cruden Bay to take over the last stage of the journey.
Peterhead’s Tamar-class lifeboat, ‘The Misses Robertson of Kintail’, launched at 3.20am and took over the tow from Aberdeen Lifeboat at a position off Cruden Bay around 4.20am.
With the weather abating around dawn, she brought the casualty vessel safely alongside in Peterhead shortly after 8am.
Aberdeen Lifeboat returned to her berth in the Granite City at 6am yesterday fter 11 hours at sea.
David Cameron, coxswain of Montrose Lifeboat on this service, said: “When we arrived on-scene, the sailing vessel was still under some sail but without power.
“We passed a drogue to the yacht for her stern – to help prevent broaching under tow – and began towing her north-west, toward Aberdeen.”
Davie Orr, coxswain of Aberdeen Lifeboat, said of their rough passage upwind: “The initial 4 metre swell quickly built to 6 metres, which forced our speed down from our design maximum of 25 knots to just 7 knots at times.
“When darkness fell, it was worse: all I could see was white wave-crests above the wheelhouse windows, before we would fall down the far side of the wave.”
Volunteer crew member with Peterhead Lifeboat, Sean Lawrence, added: “The pager went off at 2.38am so the crew quickly assembled in the middle of the night at Peterhead Lifeboat Station to work with Aberdeen to come up with a plan of action, and handover of tow as safely as possible.
“The sailing vessel was under tow by Aberdeen Lifeboat but, due to sea conditions, they were unable to enter the harbour so the decision was made to use Peterhead Harbour as an alternative.
“We arrived on scene and met Aberdeen lifeboat Bon Accord and took over the tow at 4.20am and brought the vessel alongside in Peterhead at 8.20am.
“Thanks to the commitment of all crews involved, the rescue – albeit a long one – went safely and The Misses Robertson of Kintail was made ready for service again by 9am.”