A family business tied to the Port of Ciutadella

Guiula

It was always clear that his purpose in life was to work with his hands and be “Mestre d’Aixa” (Shipwright). Jaume Llompartmore widely known as “Met”, was only 14 years old when he started working as an apprentice shipwright, “Mestre d’Aixa”. It was the year 1959. It was in a workshop which had its masters, Joan Cerdà and Jesús Melis, in the Port of Ciutadella and from the year 1966 on in the zone of “Dalt Sa Quintana.” With a mix of art and technique and using the “l’aixa”, the principal tool in antique carpentry of vessels, Jaime Llompart gave form and life to the first “llaüts” , or typical Menorquin boats, which navigated in Menorquian waters. The “llaüt” Sant Rafael is actually the first vessel that he built entirely alone.

Twelve years later, in 1971, a new age started and he opened his own workshop in the zone commonly known as “Sa Colàrsega” of the Port of Ciutadella. Astilleros(Shipyard) Llompart was born, dedicated to the construction, maintenance, and repair of vessels.

It was during these first years that he built various emblematic vessels. For example the boats “Pepita” and “Auxiliadora” and the typical “llaüts” “Guiula” and “Macarena”. He also attended to rescues and emergencies outside the Port of Ciutadella.

La Macarena és el llaut més gran construït pel mestre d'aixa de 9,60m.
The Macarena is the largest “llaut” boat built of 9,60m by the master ship builder.
La Guiula a la Colàrsega
The ‘’plait” boat Guiula, is 38 hands (7,60m)
El bot Auxiliadora de 21 pams (4,20m) construït pel mestre d'aixa l'any 1973
The boat Auxiliadora is 21 hands (4,20m) built by the master boat builder in the year 1973

If there is one year carved into the memories of the “Mestre d’Aixa” it was the year 1984, the year of the great “rissaga” which affected the port. The large wave created a multitude of heavy damages to the recreational vessels and an entire fleet of fishing vessels. Jaume Llompart was in charge of the reconstruction and repair of the majority of boats that were affected by the force of the “rissaga”. However, it was inevitable that the phenomenon would lead to the disappearance of a large number of wooden vessels.

The “rissaga” put into evidence the necessity to install in the Port of Ciutadella an infrastructure that would give an answer not only to possible emergencies but also the tasks of repair and maintenance of the fishing fleet and recreational boats of Menorca. This is how Astilleros Llompart pushed to the administration the project and the construction of the Port of Ciutadella. 

December 2, 1985 inaugurated the lifting of the fishing boat “Valldemosa” in the new shipyard of Ciutadella.

This first historic lifting generated the great expectation between the neighbors and users in all of the Port of Ciudadela that up until this moment it was only possible to lift vessels on the island of Mallorca, in the shipyard of Cala Ratjada.

The business grew, consolidated and progressively the team of workers amplified. During the 80s and 90s, the “Mestre d’Aixa” lived through all the transformations which affected the port and its users.

With the change of the century, a new generation took over the business. The son of the “Mestre d’Aixa”, also called Jaume Llompart, assures the permanece of the craft and gives continuity to the company. He began as an apprentice at just 17 years old but from his infancy on the installations of the shipyard had been a place where he played, grew and observed the works of his father. The formation and learning of the trade of “Mestre d’Aixa” go hand in hand throughout his childhood and adolescence. Over time, Jaume Llompart, son, takes the helm of the company towards the waters of the 21st century; a new era that combines craftsmanship and modernity.

Mito

In the year 2006, in the port of Ciutadella, there was another “rissaga” which provoked new damages to the float of fishing vessels and many other vessels. Llompart Shipyard again responded to the most important repairs. A year later, a new facility was inaugurated in the shipyard area, bringing modernity and speed: the first GH Crane for launching and lifting of boats up to 12.5 tons, an infrastructure that was part of the remodeling and extension project driven throughout those years. The GH Crane was a modern and necessary installation that expanded the services offered in the port of Ciutadella, for users as well as professionals of the sector.

Currently, new construction techniques for building embarkations with material such as plastic or fiberglass have have led to a clear reversal in the craftsmanship of the trade of “Mestre d’Aixa”. Nevertheless, Shipyard Llompart continues to bet on the ancestral legacy of the trade and for the recovery of a slow and meticulous way of working, which takes care of details and creates art and beauty with hands.

The last great work of the family business – built by the two generations of “Mestres d’Aixa” – father and son – is the wooden boat “Xupi“. Built with patience and perseverance during 4 years, on June 21, 2015, with the help of friends and family, the inauguration of “Xupi” was launched in “Sa Colàrsega” in the port of Ciudadela.

“Xupi” is a one of a kind boat. It mixes the most classic elements of the Minorcan boats with some characteristics of the Egyptian falucas, a fruit of the passion and the admiration of the “Mestre d’Aixa” of the Egyptian culture. From this perspective we can even say that “Xupi” is the immortal work of Jaume Llompart that will challenge, like the pyramids of Egypt, the passage of time.