The Gilbert Klingel Project

Breaking News!

Freya in Rough Seas

Freya Homecoming Delayed

As a result of foul weather, Freya’s May 27th homecoming celebration is postponed until the following Saturday, June 3rd. See the trip log.


The Freya is currently on her journey home to Gwynn’s Island, Virginia! We will be adding updates as they come to Freya’s Voyage Home to Virginia and the Freya Project.

NOAA Chart Gwynn's Island Virginia

More News . . .


Welcome to the Klingel Project’s new website!

Flamingos in flight

In addition to preserving the history and legacy of Gilbert Klingel, this project is dedicated to engaging with the community. We are excited to work with partners such as the Mathews Maritime Foundation (MMF), Gwynn’s Island Museum and many others who have a special interest in maritime history, education and the Chesapeake Bay.

This website is currently in it’s infancy, so please don’t forget to return and see what’s new. Here’s a general outline of future plans . . .

  1. On this website, we will be publishing comprehensive documentation of Gilbert Klingel’s life and achievements. This component will be led by his daughter, Marcy Benouameur, who is now retired from the Smithsonian Institute and living in Mathews County, Virginia. She has been compiling and organizing historical information and photographs for many years, so we are very excited about what’s to come!
  2. We will be posting articles about the Freya, which is a steel-hull sailboat built on Gwynn’s Island during 1953. Freya is one of the few surviving boats built by Klingel, and was generously donated to the MMF during 2016. As of this writing, she is moored in St. Augustine, Florida, and will begin her journey back home mid-May 2017. She has undergone major refitting in Florida, and with your help, will be fully restored and maintained by the MMF following her arrival.
  3. Dave Miller of Miller Productions of Virginia is producing a documentary film “Gilbert Klingel: Man of Steel”, which will include a segment about Freya’s return home. PBS will air this film, and we will keep you updated on news and details.
  4. We are also working with young people in the community by collaborating with students at Mathews County High School and helping to establish a Sea Scouts base in the county.
  5. Finally, we thank you for visiting and encourage you to get involved or donate to our projects.
Gilbert Klingel ospreys
Gilbert shares some play time with with ospreys in a low nest. Photograph by A. Aubrey Bodine – © Jennifer B. Bodine – Courtesy of
Basilisk on the Chesapeake Bay
The Basilisk pictured with sails up on calm waters of the Chesapeake Bay during 1930.
Mathewtown, Inagua Island 1931
A Klingel print depicting Mathewtown on Inagua Island.
Inagua native woman cooking
Mrs. Cartwright cooks over fire. This photograph was made on Inagua Island by Gilbert Klingel during the 1930’s.
National Geographic & Aquascope
Two National Geographic Society representatives (left) inspect the “Aquascope” which Klingel (right) built during the early 1950’s. Funded by NGS, Klingel used the device to study the depths of the Chesapeake Bay.
Aquascope Chesapeake Bay
The Aquascope ready to deploy into the Chesapeake Bay. Gilbert Klingel (left) and Willard Culver (right) peer through the viewing window.

See more Klingel historical photographs.