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13-year-old Gulf Coast teen sets sail in hand-crafted sailboat

Updated: May. 29, 2021 at 5:12 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The Gulfport Yacht Club hosted its 88th annual flag-raising ceremony Saturday, signifying the start of boating season. Following the ceremony, many boats hit the water, including one hand-crafted boat for the first time.

It all started as a drawing for 13-year-old Court Salloum, then his dad Teal Salloum noticed a truckload of plywood and two by fours on top of their car.

“I said what’s that and he said I told you I’m going to build that boat,” said Teal.

Five months later Salloum’s drawing has come to life, allowing him to suit up to set sea in his very own, hand-built sailboat.

“I’ve always loved building stuff and constructing and being on boats and sailing,” said Court. “I just wanted to start building on it so I just started, one screw after the next,” Court said.

Court and his friends prepared his boat to go out in the water and while doing that he explained to some of the Yacht Club members what it took to build it.

“This is just wood and jell coat,” said Court as he pointed to the floor of the boat.

For Court, building his boat wasn’t as simple as tying a knot. He said it took help from his dad, other family members, and strategic planning.

“I come home one day he got it all formed and put together and held together with zip ties,” said Teal. “I said that’s going to be a problem. He said dad it’s stitch and glue it’s going to work.”

Court said once he completed the stitch and glue method, he then used fiberglass along the sides.

“This is the bottom and you drill a hole right here and zip tie it together then I just took any wood glue, gorilla glue,” he said. “Gorilla glue is good.”

Court said he’s been sailing his entire life and has no plans to stop.

“I’m definitely going to build another boat after this as soon as I can, but it’s no telling I may build 20 more boats or two more boats,” said Court. “I mean it’s everybody’s boat, not just mine, they all helped.”

Court is currently a student at St. Patrick Catholic High School and he said he can see himself taking his building skills on to work at a shipyard when he finishes school.

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