Torrevieja and the International Marina Sports Port

The history of Torrevieja is inextricably linked to the sea, but not in a rhetorical or figurative way.

The sea, the water of our Mediterranean Sea is the main source of the La Mata and Torrevieja lagoons, and it is in the latter where the famous salt, that currently has a production of around one million tons annually, is harvested. Therefore, it remains one of the landmarks of the city. Although tourism has taken away its economic hegemony, it remains one of the main landmarks of the “salt city”.

But the sea, or la mar, as it is more appropriate to say when referring to this chapter, has been one of its main economic and labour factors since the birth of the town. The Torrevieja fleet lived moments of true brilliance and its sailors enjoyed their deserved reputation as exponents of the virtues of men of the sea.

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.

In memory and tribute to the men who risked their lives at sea, the city of Torrevieja bought and is, at present, restoring that was probably the last sailing vessel to leave the shipyards of Torrevieja, the schooner “Pascual Flores” which when fully restored, which is expected to occur later this year, will be the oldest sailing ship to continue sailing, now converted into a tall ship training vessel.

But considering the present, that small town of sailors and salt workers, has today become the fourth most populous city in the Valencian Region, a place where citizens from more than 130 countries live, a tourist enclave of international fame, where every year hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to enjoy the extraordinary climate, its excellent service, its comprehensive sailing facilities such as the International Marina Sports Port of Torrevieja and, of course, its incomparable sea, which is enjoyed each and every day of the year.