The Gilbert Klingel Project

 February Update 2018



We’ll be bringing you from the past and into the present with our latest and biggest news first!

The biographical film, “The Legacy of Gilbert Klingel: Man of Steel” is deep in post production and editing. It’s release to television and DVD is expected in mid 2018. National Geographic has contributed heavily to the film with both archival photos from the aquascope project and film shot in 1953 in Mathews Virginia.

Klingel’s story is full of history and accomplishments of this Chesapeake Bay naturalist. The film team has discovered rare film footage, personal photos, and a wealth of Klingel’s writings and observations making this a comprehensive and remarkable story of the Chesapeake and of Klingel in the 20th century.

The film project is centered at the Mathew’s Maritime Foundation Boat Shop on Gwynn’s Island, where Klingel built his steel hulled boats, and will be an educational and historic work to increase interest and understanding of the bay area. Please support us in completing this wonderful project by contacting the Mathew’s Maritime Foundation and visit their website at


The Aquascope on pontoon barge at Gwynn’s Island, Virginia
Photo Courtesy of National Geographic
Chesapeake Bay naturalist, Gilbert Klingel, late 1920’s early 1930’s
Gwynn’s Island Boat Shop as seen from above, facing west
Photo Courtesy of Dave Miller

Recent News!

Freya Homecoming Celebration

We had a great turnout for the Freya Homecoming Celebration on June 3rd. Thanks to all the volunteers and donors who made it possible to bring her back to Gwynn’s Island and to all who participated in the welcome celebration!

It’s now time to restore Freya, so there’s a continuing need for donations. Our immediate goals are to: 1) bring her back to original specifications and have here registered as a historical landmark; and 2) ensure she is a safe and reliable vessel for educational use . . .such as that by Sea Scouts.

Freya Gwynn's Island

Freya is home!

Freya Returns to Gwynn's Island

Supporters welcome Freya.

Freya Sailboat Welcome Party

Freya Journey Completed!

The Freya completed her journey home to Gwynn’s Island, Virginia on May 28th! Read more about the Freya Project.

Feya Sailing Chesapeake Bay

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 and Ospreys

Basilisk on the Chesapeake Bay

Mathewtown, Inagua Island 1931

Inagua native woman cooking

National Geographic & Aquascope

Aquascope Chesapeake Bay

See more Klingel historical photographs.