Gardnerville family set for sailboat odyssey

Paul Manzano blueprints the tentative one-year sailboat journey across the Atlantic Ocean.

Paul Manzano blueprints the tentative one-year sailboat journey across the Atlantic Ocean.

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It’s more than just a family vacation.

The Manzanos, a family of seven from Garnderville, put their house on the market and are bound to travel the world across the ocean, starting Tuesday.

Along with their five children, the family is expected to journey for at least a year, sailing from Turkey to Florida, on their 50 foot long beneteau motor sail boat, containing three bathrooms, a master bedroom, two more bedrooms, and a kitchen.

The boat is waiting at a dock in Turkey for the family’s arrival.

For Jessica and Paul Manzano, this adventure has been a lifelong dream to achieve.

They even quit their jobs to see the sea; Paul left his job of 12 years as a project manager for General Electric.

But sailing is no stranger to Paul; he’s been practicing it for nine years.

“We knew it was going to happen, but we didn’t think it would be so soon,” Paul said. “It will definitely be a learning curve. Our longest trip we’ve done as a family was 12 hours.”

For Jessica, this will be her first time traveling extensively, as she was born and raised in Douglas County.

“We’re going to miss Nevada and we have family here,” she said. “But just to have this family experience will mean so much. We’ll be exploring and growing closer as a family.”

When the Manzanos’ flight arrives in Turkey this week, they will depart from the dock and sail across the Aegean Sea — specifically through the coast of Greece until they reach Croatia.

From there, they will turn around but sail around the coast of Italy, down to the Mediterranean, until they meet the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Paul said 30 percent of the adventure is sailing as the family plans to explore the lands.

“It’s like an RV, but on water,” he said.

However, the goal is to get out of the area by October as the weather is predicted to act up. The family will make their way toward the coasts of Spain and Africa, and pass by Morocco and the Western Sahara.

The next goal is to reach Barbados, an island near South America, and travel to the Caribbean — maybe even to Panama.

The alarming challenge, however, is traveling across the north Atlantic ocean to get to Barbados.

But Paul said the key is to travel across the ocean by November, when hurricane season has already expired.

Another bonus for the family is they plan to meet a friend in Cape Verde, whom will help them set up for the three-week course across the Atlantic.

“A boat is made for sea,” he said. “I’m more concerned about the coasts since they are worse, but you just sail with the wind.”

Paul said the key is to anchor as much as possible during rough rides. The family plans to save most of the motor oil for efficiency.

“We’ll never be stranded,” Paul said. “We’ll also be saving money by fishing, which is how we’ll provide for our meals.”

When it comes to hydration, the family will use resources that turn salt water into drinking water.

As for the five children — Jill, 11; Doug, 10; Bethany, 8; Nathan, 6; and Mateo, 4 — this is the first time they’re traveling by boat.

Jessica said she plans to home school the children from the boat.

“I’m excited, but I hope I don’t lose my friends,” Jill said. “I’m really excited to learn new languages and geography.”

By May, the family should reach Florida. Along the way, they plan to see Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, and the Keys.

From there, they will decide if they want to move back to Nevada or begin a new life in Florida.

The Manzanos will be recording their journey through their website,, and Instagram @seven_on_the_seas.


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