Boating fanatic Darren Finkelstein struck a chord when he released his book "Honey, let's buy a BOAT" late last year.
The print book sold out in just four months and is into reprint. And the eBook versions have met with equal success. On iTunes, it peaked at number 5 among sport and recreation best sellers in February alongside swimmer Ian Thorpe's autobiography and tennis star Andre Agassi's "Open".
Darren says the book has also offered him a range of unexpected bonuses.
"I've been asked to speak at a number of marine events this year including the Hillarys Boat Dive & Fishing Show in Perth in March, at the Melbourne Boat Show in June and at the Marine 13 conference in Sydney."
"I've also found myself being interviewed on radio," he says. "Suddenly, I am something of an industry expert."
His dealership, St Kilda Boat Sales in Melbourne, has also chalked up a number of sales after people read the book.
Rob Davis, CEO of Corporate Cleaning Group bought a Caribbean 32 and wrote: "I can't recommend highly enough the value of reading Darren's book and in my case the ease in which he facilitated the purchase of our new boat!"
Darren says he is delighted that the book achieved its primary objective as an educational tool.
"Boat ownership and handling appears so difficult and boating terminology seems both archaic and bewildering," he says. "We simply set out to demystify a wonderful sport."
He says women are particularly interested in the book.
"They want to participate in the buying decision and want to make sure they are informed," he says.
The lure of boating in its myriad forms has touched most Australians at one time or another. Many succumb, some resist and many wish they could take the plunge but are wary of the challenges of buying and operating their own boat.
We have all seen the terror on the faces of people trying to climb into an unstable small boat or watched at a marina as an unfortunate skipper caught by wind or tide struggles to park his sleek new million-dollar toy.
Boat ownership and handling appears so difficult and boating terminology seems both archaic and bewildering. There is port and starboard instead of a simple left and right. Cleats and lines and galleys and heads, cockpits and bilges; it is an occupation seemingly designed to intimidate.
Darren Finkelstein has been messing about in boats for most of his life. For the past 10 years he has earned his living in the industry as Dealer Principal of St Kilda Boat Sales in Melbourne.
Recently he took to a computer keyboard with the single and simple aim of demystifying a process that is his passion. "I wanted to let everyone know that buying and owning a boat is not a massive hurdle," says Darren. "If you apply some common sense and seek good advice, you and your family can be out on the water enjoying the boating lifestyle."
The result is "Honey, let's buy a BOAT!", a straightforward guide through the seeming maze of power boat purchasing. Typically, Darren began by attending a writers' workshop with best-selling international business author Andrew Griffiths.
According to Griffiths, "Darren's mission is to help people find that zest for life, to get families spending time outdoors, to be more active, healthy, laughing out loud and having a blast."
"Honey, let's buy a BOAT!" is a 360-page book packed with information both general and comprehensive.
It includes a detailed description of 20 different kinds of power boats, from the simple tinnie to the massive Flybridge Cruisers. Each includes a pricing guide as well as engine and accommodation options.
Darren has devoted six pages to what, for him, are the "coolest" boats in the world; the oddly named Wally brand.
There is a section on hull construction types ‐ aluminium or fibreglass ‐ along with the positive and negative points of each, a guide to the plethora of engine options and a straightforward explanation of berthing options. Do you store it in your shed or your yard, rent a garage or rent a berth at a marina? What is a dry-stack or a hard stand?
Each chapter is illustrated with photographs and Darren has added useful tips throughout the narrative, from a warning about trailer brakes to a tip on flushing an outboard engine.
He has provided tables for working out the full cost of boat ownership and an entire chapter each on the process for buying a boat at the best price and value (they are not necessarily the same) and selling your boat for the best price.
Inevitably, Darren includes a list of his Top 10 reasons for owning a boat: quality of life, affordable recreation, water access is close, bonding with family and friends, stress reduction, convenience, reward, exercise, ease and FUN.
The book is completed with lists of boating authorities around Australia, a dictionary of boating terminology and even a suite of sample forms used in buying or selling a boat.
Andrew Griffiths concludes: "The fact that after you read this book you will want to buy a boat, and you will be much better equipped to do so, goes without saying."
Darren began his working life as a bank teller but quickly realised that his future lay in sales. After a number of years in corporate IT with the likes of Fujitsu and ICL, Darren found his calling working with Apple for nearly 10 years during what he describes as "the wonderfully inspiring Steve Jobs era". Darren explains: "I was fortunate enough to manage Apple's commercial markets and channel partners across the southern region of Australia. Part of my role required a lot of travel and I would regularly jet off to the Apple headquarters in California for executive briefings with Apple's key customers and the senior management team including Steve Jobs and Apple's design guru Jonathon Ive."
Darren is a long-time boatie, keen fisherman and wanna-be pro surfer. His father introduced him to fishing and his first boating experiences were learning to water ski in Melbourne. He bought his first boat at age 18 in partnership with a friend and eventually followed his father-in-law's advice and bought a small half-cabin to go fishing and cruising with his young family.
In fact he felt so strongly about boating that he underwent the full "SEA-CHANGE" promising to never to return to a "real job" with corporate Australia and made boating his profession.
Today Darren and business partner Andrew Rose, own the industry Accredited boat dealer/broker; St Kilda Boat Sales and Service Centre. Located right on the water's edge at St Kilda Marina only 8km's from the Melbourne CBD they buy, sell, service, repair, fuel and wash boats for their discerning owners. Over the past 10 years they have sold hundreds of new and used power boats of all shapes and sizes. The business also services and repairs more than 300 boats each year at an accredited and fully equipped workshop employing trained mechanics and marine experts.
Darren is a passionate and engaging corporate speaker. Whether it be about spending quality family-time on the water or the corporate escapee wanting to make a full 'sea-change'. Perhaps you want good straight-up boating advice from the industry expert. Give him a call to speak at your next event, he is truly unique!
Over the years I have owned several racing yachts, but recently decided it was time to have a break from competitive sailing. There was no way I could stay away from the water altogether, and it was not long before I crossed paths with Darren in my search for a modest powerboat. I immediately read his book "Honey, let's buy a Boat" - a fascinating and honest insight into the joys (and potential pitfalls) of boat ownership! His book helped me to determine what my priorities were... Something the whole family would enjoy and be able to easily manage, big enough to entertain friends, enough power to quickly outrun the dirtiest of weather! Ironically, the boat of choice, a Caribbean 32 Flybridge Cruiser, lay in waiting for me at St Kilda marina! Following Darren's own advice, the necessary hull and mechanical checks were completed and a deal struck!
Suffice to say my whole family are now enjoying our boating more than ever... I can't recommend highly enough the value of reading Darren's book and in my case the ease in which he facilitated the purchase of our new boat! Thank-you Darren!
"I've bought and sold several boats from Darren at St Kilda Boat Sales for many of years now and actively recommend him to many of my friends. He sure knows what he is doing. When it comes to power boats, Darren is my MAN."
"If you are going to buy a 'mid-life crisis toy' the best angle for a green light from 'the wife' is to explain that a Porsche fits 2 but a boat fits the family.... Caribbean 26 Open was my pick and there are heaps of them in Melbourne. Especially with custom fitted lounges which are ideal for your Bay.
I spotted one at St Kilda Boat Sales the week before Christmas 2011, Darren at StKBS was fantastic. We reached a deal on the understanding that he would get it trucked to Sydney in time for Christmas - it all went well!
A mid-life crisis was averted and I would definitely recommend him and St Kilda Boat Sales".
To ensure that Honey, let's buy a BOAT! is available to the widest possible audience of international readers, using the broadest range of electronic devices such as; Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Android etc. the book is now available in both MOBI and ePub formats. In addition, Print-On-Demand ensures that our readers outside Australia are well cared for, with easy and safe online ordering, supported by fast delivery.Our international distribution partners include;