The Gilbert Klingel Project

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
Ending her journey from Florida, Freya enters Edwards Creek on Gwynn’s Island. Photo © Penny Patton

Freya is home!

Freya Returns to Gwynn's Island
The sailboat Freya returns to Gilbert Klingel’s historic boatyard on Gwynn’s Island, Virginia. Photo © John Tobin/

Supporters welcome Freya.

Freya Sailboat Welcome Party
During the Freya Homecoming Celebration (June 3, 2017), a welcome party is gathered to greet boat and crew. Photo © John Tobin/

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
On the final leg of her journey from Florida, Freya and crew enjoyed good winds on the Chesapeake Bay. Photo © John Tobin/

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
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 during 1931.
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. Photograph by A. Aubrey Bodine – © Jennifer B. Bodine – Courtesy of
Aquascope Chesapeake Bay
The Aquascope ready to deploy into the Chesapeake Bay. Gilbert Klingel (left) and Willard Culver (right) peer though the viewing window.

See more Klingel historical photographs.