SPECIAL: THE CONSTRUCTION OF "XUPI"

«Xupi» and his trip to “Ítaca”

Opinion article

by Maria Llompart

The idea appeared more than 17 years ago between two couples of good friends, Loli & Jaume, my parents, and Jordi & Sedes. A boat to enjoy the sea and the Menorca wind during the future years of retirement. But the idea and the project were parked, in stalemate, for 10 years because life had other plans and our mother started her journey to infinity. The wood and the prepared material were forgotten in a corner of the workshop of “Sa Colàrsega”. The “Mestre d’Aixa” needed a long time to recover the energy, strength and inspiration needed to start the construction of this last special boat..

Six years ago, the machines of the workshop were lit again, the smell of sawdust flooded Es Pla de Sant Joan and the “Mestre d’Aixa” began to saw the first frames. And so began a slow and meticulous creative process that lasted 4 years. Those of us who have had the luck and privilege to accompany the “Mestre d’Aixa” during these years can assure you that he is a person who does things at his own pace, constant and meticulous. At low heat and with a great deal of patience, he has given body and shape to a unique boat, half Menorcan, half Egyptian felucca that is a real jewel, a work that will last beyond our lives. “Xupi”, a name that emerged in a few years of family travel sailing the Nile River in Egypt, is much more than a boat, it is the immortal work of our pharaoh.

The process of creating “Xupi” has also represented a unique opportunity: to travel through time and contemplate, with calm and tranquility, the ancestral works of an artisan craft that creates art and beauty with their hands. A whole lesson of life before a world that turns from every time to a more frenetic and accelerated rhythm. And together with that journey in time, “Xupi” has been a gift of learning and training so that my little brother, who now represents the generational change of the “Mestre d’Aixa” profession, has learned the oldest techniques in detail and precision. In addition to the construction day of “Xupi”, there are two special dates that can not be forgotten:

On June 21, 2015 the letters with the name of “Xupi” were placed and the final touches were made. The day of the launch arrived. Pushed with the help of friends and family, Xupi left forever the workshop where he was born. “Xupi” was launched into the sea with an emotional and authentic launching, as it used to be done in Sa Colàrsega in the port of Ciudadela. A very special moment that we will always keep in our memory.

On September 3, 2016 “Xupi” dressed up to sail to a day full of magic and beauty: my wedding in Sa Farola. In life there are images, places and moments that are sacred, instants where time stands and a window opens in the sky. Not even in my best dreams could I have imagined that all that wood full of dust and stacked for years in the workshop would one day become a bridal felucca and be the protagonist of an unrepeatable, unique and magical sailor day.

The trip from “Xupi” to Ithaca and ours has been, as the verses of Kavafis say, difficult, long, full of adventures and experiences. We all have our own Homer Odysseys, but the journey has enriched us and it has been very worthwhile. A thousand thanks “Mestre”!

(I)

Quan surts per fer el viatge cap a Ítaca,
has de pregar que el camí sigui llarg,
ple d’aventures, ple de coneixences.
Has de pregar que el camí sigui llarg,
que siguin moltes les matinades
que entraràs en un port que els teus ulls ignoraven,
i vagis a ciutats per aprendre dels que saben.
Tingues sempre al cor la idea d’Ítaca.
Has d’arribar-hi, és el teu destí,
però no forcis gens la travessia.
És preferible que duri molts anys,
que siguis vell quan fondegis l’illa,
ric de tot el que hauràs guanyat fent el camí,
sense esperar que et doni més riqueses.
Ítaca t’ha donat el bell viatge,
sense ella no hauries sortit.
I si la trobes pobra, no és que Ítaca
t’hagi enganyat. Savi, com bé t’has fet,
sabràs el que volen dir les Ítaques.

I-Kavafis (Adaptation of Lluís Llach of a Catalan version by Carles Riba).

When you leave to travel to Ithaca, you have to pray that the road is long, full of adventures, full of knowledge. You have to pray that the road is long, that there are many in the morning you will enter a port that your eyes ignored, and go to cities to learn from those who know. Always keep the idea of Ithaca at heart. You have to get there, it’s your destiny, but do not force anything on the journey. It is preferable that it lasts for many years, that you are old when you base the island, rich of all that you have won doing the way, without waiting for you to give yourself more wealth. Ithaca has given you the beautiful journey, without it you would not have left. And if you find it poor, it’s not that Itacat has been deceitful. Wise, as you have been, you will know what the Ítaques mean.

Photos: Álex Olea and Miguel Ángel Pedrera