Rendez-vous August 2000 – Back from Hawai

RSR Rendez-vous August 2000


Back from Hawai

We’re back:

Louise and I missed the Mosport DEW (well, actually we didn’t really “miss” it,) because we were honeymooning in Hawaii. We loved the place. The ocean is a very special color of blue. Not blue black like the Atlantic, it’s what I’d call “true blue”. Somebody quipped that Hawaii spends billions dumping tons of “Tidy Bowl” into the water. That best describes the color.

No Porsche Content:

Here’s a bit of interesting lore we picked up while in Lahaina on Maui. In the 1700’s Lahaina was the winter home for large whaling fleets operating in the Atlantic. As you’d expect the town provided the usual amenities, drinking, gambling, and easy women. Getting to Maui from the northern whaling grounds meant sailing around Cape Horn. Even today, rounding the Horn is considered very dangerous. That’s one of the reasons the Panama Canal was built. For sailors, getting around the Horn was like going through hell. Because of this, it was commonly held that there was no such thing as sin West of Cape Horn… and that’s where the expression “horny” came from.

DE News:

Driver’s Ed at Ste Eustache was fun. It was great seeing over 60 Porsches in the paddock. Even better were the grins under the helmets. I can’t say for sure, but I think some people were a little hesitant about learning a new track. After a few recon laps, everyone was driving it like pros and enjoying themselves. Our instructors were proud because this was proof positive of the benefits of Rennsport’s Teaching Program. We haven’t taught people to drive Mont Tremblant, we taught them how to drive, period. Learning a new track makes anyone a better driver. It’s like skiing a new mountain, you learn from it.

While I’m busy feeling proud about Rennsport DE, I have to mention that it rained at Ste Eustache. “So what” you might say, it’s been raining all summer after all. The significance is that Ste- Eustache is very, I repeat, very slippery when wet. We didn’t get steady rain, just a few downpours. Not to enough to wash the surface clean, but more than enough to create a treacherous mix of oil, rubber and water. Chris Paine (Safety Chair) handled the situation with aplomb as did the sixty odd drivers. “Well done” to you all.

Instructor News:

Rapidly growing membership and normal attrition results in Rennsport being short of instructors for DE events. Perhaps because of Tremblant’s renovation quite a few senior instructors have disappeared from DE activities. That’s disappointing. Things are on the upturn though. Our Instructor Development Program is working and we have our first graduates of this year. Please welcome:

o Alain Goulet o Eric Gutknecht o Phil Tughan

If you feel inclined, send them a graduation present. Gravol pills and Depends are always appreciated. While you’re buying these gifts, think about our two newest candidates, Bob Elson and Sylvain Toupin. They’ve just joined the program and after a few role-playing sessions they’ll appreciate your kindness. Before I leave the subject, I’d like to thank several of our Instructors who went beyond the call of duty to ensure that we had enough instructors to avoid turning people away. In no particular order, Ivano Scattolin, Marc Belanger, Kapriyel Ferah, Marc Belanger, Alain Goulet, Ron Whitehead and Rob Martin came out to teach even though their own cars weren’t ready. Botho Von Bose did have a car, but drove all the way from Toronto for a one day event, on his birthday yet! Marc Scott mentioned this last month but it bears repeating, there are some awfully nice people in this club!

Rennsport Membership:

At the exec, a couple of things have come to light. For one thing, there are quite a few people who belong to Rennsport who don’t belong to PCA. For those in this category, did you know that if you don’t join PCA, you are not really a Porsche Club member? You can’t participate in any PCA driving activities (including rally and autocross) because you aren’t covered by our insurance which is through PCA.

On the other hand some belong to PCA without belonging to Rennsport. This allows you access to PCA events but, no Auspuff and no support for Club Activities which are financed by Rennsport, not PCA. When membership time rolls around, please – sign up for both Rennsport and PCA dues.

Insurance Company Blackmail:

When I switched my C4S for the Boxster S I sent the info to my insurance company, (Chubb). No problems and they handled the change without delay. A week or so later, I was informed that I had to install a “Boomerang” or else. It seems that all 4X4’s and any automobile costing over $50K must have one of these tracking devices or risk losing coverage.

As far as I can figure, the “Boomerang” is a black box containing the guts of a cell phone and maybe a low power radio transmitter. If you report your car stolen, Bell Mobility (who is a partner in the deal) calls the box and locates it to within one cell of their system. Once they have the cell location, the Boomerang guys send out a truck equipped with radio direction finding equipment to pinpoint the location. This may use a different radio, or perhaps the cell phone is sent to a channel which is unused in that cell, I’m not sure. Some radio transmits a low power continuous signal which lets the Boomerang guys home in on the location.

The Boomerang box is installed in a hidden location unknown to even the car owner. It costs from $250-400 for the box and install and about $130 a year for monitoring. If the car is stolen and they track it, additional charges apply.

Does my insurance company offer a discount for this install? No. Does it work outside Bell Territory? Dunno. I’m stuck with having someone screw around with Porsche wiring and get to pay the costs on top of it. I have seen a number of cars trashed by poor electrical hookups of alarm systems, and I am not enthusiastic about letting someone dig into my car without my being able to supervise the wiring.

On the other hand:

Car thefts are still on the increase. I am told that Canadian Cities with ports are the favorite location for car theft. Apparently it is a lot easier to export a car from Canada than the USA which reduces the chances of getting caught. Worse, technology has surfaced which makes swiping a car easier in spite of all the antitheft devices.

Garage Door Openers – did you know that you can buy a smart garage door opener than “learns” the code to your system by simply tuning it on its receiver? Yup, there are a whole bunch of smart door openers on the market which work with 99 percent of the systems in use. How do you program these marvels? Easy! Take your existing opener, place it next to the new one and press the button on your old one a few times until the new one flashes a light. The process takes less than 60 seconds. There is a nice version of this product which substitutes for the cigar lighter in your car.

What this means is that whenever you leave your car with a garage or car wash, a potential thief could program his door opener with the code to your garage. Yipes! Unplug your system when you leave on holidays.

Wait, it gets better. Some enterprising company has taken the scanning and learning process to a higher level. The remote locking systems on most cars (including late model Porsches) use a miniature radio transmitter to send a coded signal to your car which unlocks the door and disables the circuits which prevent the engine from being started. You’ve probably guessed it, someone has come up with a scanner which tunes in the signal, copies it and retransmits it at will. It has a range of about 60 feet. Sit in a shopping center parking lot and tune in the person locking a Porsche and presto, you’re in the car. Starting the car might still be a problem, but swiping anything in car or the trunk is a snap. Technology cuts two ways.

Speaking of which, I’m also told that the airport parking lot is a very bad place to leave any vehicle which is high on the “most wanted cars” list. Everyone tells me that they will never leave an expensive car there. Since we all know at least one person who’s had a car stolen from the airport lot, I have no reason to question the notion. On the other hand, how the heck do you get a stolen car out of the lot? You drive up in a flat bed with a new Porsche tied down. You don’t have the parking slip. I’d think that the first thing the attendant would do is call the cops and let them sort things out. I guess not. If anyone knows how this works, let me know.

..Bob – reluctantly off to get a Boomerang

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