Homecoming celebration Saturday for The Freya

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on May 31, 2017 - 02:51 PM

Photo: Crew members aboard The Freya as she heads home to Gwynn’s Island are, seated from left, Rob Bonner and Donnie Pressley; standing, Captain John Bonner. Partially visible is cinematographer David Powers. © John Tobin/tobinphoto.com

Crew members aboard The Freya as she heads home to Gwynn’s Island are, seated from left, Rob Bonner and Donnie Pressley; standing, Captain John Bonner. Partially visible is cinematographer David Powers. © John Tobin/tobinphoto.com

Photo: The Freya, under sail in the Chesapeake Bay and on her way home to Gwynn’s Island. © John Tobin/tobinphoto.com

The Freya, under sail in the Chesapeake Bay and on her way home to Gwynn’s Island. © John Tobin/tobinphoto.com

A homecoming celebration will be held for The Freya, a steel-hulled sailboat built on Gwynn’s Island by the late Gilbert Klingel, at 2 p.m. Saturday at the old Gwynn’s Island Boat Yard, adjacent to the Mathews Maritime Foundation’s boat shop on Ferry Road, Gwynn’s Island. The public is invited.

There will be photos, memorabilia and information about Klingel’s life and accomplishments on display. There will also be refreshments.

Currently docked at Cobbs Creek, The Freya will sail to Gwynn’s Island just as the celebration begins. She will be preceded by The Peggy, a buyboat that’s considered by many to be the Mathews flagship. Boat owners are welcome to join the small boat parade in Hill’s Bay at around 1 p.m. and help escort The Freya home.

Captain John Bonner of Mathews, Rob Bonner and Donnie Pressley, both of St. Augustine, Florida, spent 11 days sailing The Freya from St. Augustine to Gwynn’s Island. Captain Benji Whitcomb of Kingston, New York, joined them for the first leg of the journey. 

When The Freya reached the Chesapeake Bay, filmmaker Dave Miller of Miller Productions of Virginia joined the crew to film footage for a documentary about the boat’s builder titled “Gilbert Klingel: Man of Steel.” The film is being co-produced by Klingel’s daughter, Marcy Benouameur of Gwynn’s Island, and Tom Robinson of Moon. Miller also filmed the PBS documentaries “Journey on the Chesapeake” and “Breathing Life into the Chesapeake,” and has produced many other PBS documentaries.

The 64-year-old vessel will remain on Gwynn’s Island as part of the MMF’s historical boat fleet, said Robinson, adding that The Freya is expected to eventually be named a Virginia Historic Maritime Landmark.

For more information about the celebration or the trip, visit www.mathewsmaritime.com.