2018-19 Queen’s Harbour Yacht Club Bridge Officers
Commodore Nick Simonis
Born in The Hague in the Netherlands, I remember as a young boy having a small boat with oars and navigating the numerous canals. Since that tender age I felt I had salt water running through my veins. In 1969 my entire family moved to North America and settled in Harrow, a small rural town in Ontario located on the banks of Lake Erie. My teenage years were spent water skiing on the lake in the summers and playing Hockey on the frozen lake in the winters. In 1988 I had an opportunity to move to Jacksonville and was captivated by its warm climate and beautiful navigable waters of the first coast. This is where I met and married my wife Audrey and together we enjoyed our boat Perfect Partner-Ship, and traveled to great destinations. Always gravitating toward water and boating activities, I have been appointed Fleet Captain at the Epping Forest Yacht Club and served as Secretary then Treasurer at the Queen’s Harbour Yacht Club.
In August of 2018 I was elected Commodore to lead the Queen’s Harbour Yacht Club. My responsibilities are to set the agenda and the direction of this wonderful club with its 25 year history and with over 100 active memberships.
I welcome you to browse our website, check out our Club History, and Membership pages. We have a fun group of members who share the same passion for the water and boating, some with and some without boats. We are gearing up for some spectacular events.
I look forward to seeing you on or around the water!
Vice Commodore Robin Spence
Photo and bio coming soon
Treasurer Martin Rees
Marian and I moved to Queens Harbour from Boston MA in 2010. I am originally from the UK and Marian hails from Ireland. We first moved to the US in 1985 and have lived in Pittsburgh, Orlando, Houston and Boston before settling in Queens Harbour. Having a boat was always a part of our post career plans and we started off with a 32 foot Beneteau sailboat which two years ago we traded for a 33 foot Monterey express cruiser which has made longer trips with the Yacht Club a lot more feasible.
Most of my career was spent in the finance area and I am still active in consulting on project financing for infrastructure projects. In addition to being the Treasurer of QHYC I am also Board President of First Coast No More Homeless Pets here in Jacksonville whose mission is to end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters in our community, Northeast Florida and the nation.
Secretary John Strohofer
In late 2014, we moved closer to family, warm weather and salt air, when we chanced upon the Queen’s Harbour community and fell in love with the life style it offered. I’m a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, but spent many of my formative years growing up in Cliffside Park, NJ, across the Hudson from New York City. I went back to Cincinnati to attend college at Xavier University earning a Bachelor of Science degree; then joined the Navy’s aviation officer training program for what turned into a 30 year career.
In the Navy I flew helicopters, managed ships, and worked as a diplomat at NATO in Brussels. I finished up my naval career in charge of Navy Recruiting for the southeast Region of the US. Over the years whenever we were stationed ashore we were fortunate to be able to sail from the naval bases. So, I enjoyed recreational sailing in Pensacola Bay, FL; Narragansett Bay, RI; and San Diego Bay, CA. One year, the family vacationed in Isle of Palms, and we sailed the Cooper River off Charleston. After the Navy, my second career was sales of commercial real estate sales across Georgia from a head office in Macon. Lake Tobesofkee, formed by a hydroelectric dam project, and the Ocmulgee River were the two closest water recreation sites. Our time on the water in Macon was spent kayaking, skiing and tubing.
Once we settled in, I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful beaches and learn small boating in the Intercoastal and St. John’s River. Up to this point in my life, my small boat experience while not nil, was limited compared to most boaters in Queen’s Harbour. The QHYC provided warm welcoming people and a knowledge base of local boating, sailing and fishing. The JAX Boat Club was recommended as a great way to learn the waterways and be exposed to numerous boats; it was just what I needed. The Fishing Society and Sailing Club provided invaluable information, although I still haven’t caught “the big one”. Currently, I’m a land yachter, with plenty of friends who have boats… perfect.
As your secretary, I’ll faithfully record the notable exploits, tall tales, sailing experiences and all remarkable nautical adventures of our membership that I become aware of and are fit to print, as well as, the details of how we were able to accomplish those feats throughout the year. Here’s to a great year, see you on the water!
Fleet Captain Dan Mechenbier
Lydia and I retired to Queens Harbour in 2004 and have been busy having fun ever since. The first organization we joined was the Yacht Club (Thank you Bill Arnold!) and we have continued to enjoy the camaraderie ever since. I am not a boat owner, having once been possessed by a small plywood hull sailboat, aptly named “The Sinkable Molly Brown”. That little tub taught me everything I’ll ever need to know about boat ownership. My main goal as Fleet Captain is to introduce all of our members to Pussers British Navy Rum.
In my previous life I worked as a field agent for the FDA, keeping the world safe from ne’er-do-wells in the food, pharmaceutical, medical research and blood banking industries. In retirement I’ve kept busy serving on the POA Board of Directors, various committees thereof and our own Queens Harbour CERT. I also spend a couple afternoons a week (along with a good number of your neighbors) tutoring local kids in an after school program in the Mayport area. In my spare time I handle donations, correspondence and other related matters for a small, family style orphanage in Honduras.