Since the mid-nineteenth century to the last years of sailing, when it was finally replaced by steam, the bay of Torrevieja welcomed the largest fleet of cabotage sailing ships in the Mediterranean, extending their voyages to countries in northern Europe and with special relevance, the race to America, which over the years and due to the frequency of those trips, ended up turning this city into the world capital of habanera, a singing style the sailors of Torrevieja learned in distant Cuba. They knew how to assimilate like no one else and it become the traditional melody of the city, which celebrates an annual international competition which is televised in five continents.
Pailebotes, goletas (schooners), feluccas, bricbarcas and all kinds of sailing ships sailed the seas mainly transporting the produce from the market gardens of Murcia and the Vega del Segura and returning with the most diverse cargos, specially mahogany woods arriving from the largest of the Caribbean islands.
Many of those sailing ships were purchased from Catalan or Majorcan owners, but many others were built in the shipyards of Torrevieja by its master shipwrights, who enjoyed a well-deserved reputation for the speed and bearing of their vessels. Some of those old shipyards were a few metres from where the International Marina Sports Port of Torrevieja is located today.