Six months in the making
He started the project Oct. 24 and officially finished April 27. He will present the project for review Tuesday to Camas High officials.
The other four existing i550s in the Portland fleet are white. Moran based his color off a black and turquoise Transpac 52 Quantum racing boat he saw.
“I really like the color,” Moran said of his boat. “I didn’t want to copy their color.”
“If he had just painted the boat, it would have been done months ago,” added Moran’s father, who advised him on the project. “But, like Stephen said, ‘quality counts and appearance counts,’ so if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it.”
Moran originally planned to participate in a Coast Guard captain’s course for his senior project.
However, the program was not offered during his winter break. So he asked his father if he could make an i550 sailboat — a boat he had not previously sailed. The boat cost around
$6,000 to build, Stephen’s father estimated, noting that did not include the cost of the boat’s parts.
“I didn’t know anything about boat-building when I first started,” Moran said. “It was a learning process the whole time.”
His passion for sailing kept him motivated, even as he worked seven days per week, often foregoing other hobbies.
Moran started sailing a decade ago during his childhood in Guam, a U.S. territory where he lived until age 13. His father was a professor of marine and environmental biology there, and built and sailed boats in his spare time.
The sport’s skill and strategy appealed to him.
“It’s always the person who has the most skill who takes first place,” Moran said, explaining that a good skipper knows how to play the wind. He learned to do just that in Guam, where the trade winds whip up to 25 mph.
The Morans moved to the Pacific Northwest prior to his time at Camas High School. The weather was “a bit of a shock,” his father said, joking that he continued walking barefoot even when it snowed.
One thing remained constant: Sailing.
During his high school years, Moran joined the Willamette Sailing Club, competing against other high school students in the Pacific Northwest.
“It’s kind of like Stephen was born to sail,” said Sukhmanjit Singh, his teammate and fellow Camas High senior. “He knows what to do on the water.”
Moran’s time on the water didn’t fully prepare him for the challenges associated with building the boat. The boat’s plans were vague, his father noted.
Father and son bonded over discussions of the plans. The project, Moran said, taught him problem-solving techniques, self-motivation and not to settle for less than his best.
Now that it’s through, the whole project seems like a blur, the young boat-builder remarked.
“You can look at it now and say, ‘Wow, I did that!'” said Moran, who plans to attend the University of Oregon to study human physiology.
The boat should make its first appearance on the Columbia River this month, he said. It will join four other completed i550s and a soon-to-be completed one to give the i550 PDX fleet six boats.
“It’s pretty amazing … for a kid to start with 20 sheets of plywood and finish with a boat,” Rimkus said.
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