Sunday, 6 March 2011

Using the Navi GT-31 Speed Genie GPS for Windsurfing

The Navi GT31 is the best GPS to use for windsurfing, along with their other model the GT32 which includes bluetooth functionality and anything else they subsequently will release to update them. The reason for this is the simplicity of it and the Speed Genie function. Setting the unit up is covered on many other websites, Tom Chalkos being one of the easiest to follow and regularly updated with the correct links. GPS Speedsailing also has a set of instructions. Erik Loots Speedsurfingblog also has some good advice

This post is not intended to duplicate anything on the other sites. I want to help people use it in the easiest possible way so that there is no confusion regarding the different files it produces.

There are two main ways to transfer the data from the GT31 a computer; by either using the SD card, or by connecting the GT31 to a USB port and using the provided software (Navilink). For the first 18months I had the GT31 I connected it to the computer and downloaded all the files it would give me. This meant turning the unit on and putting it into the correct mode in the menu system. The problem with this method is that the 'nmea' file then logs the data at home, so making the track 'distorted' in the analysis software. It is easy enough to delete this part of the file in the software but unnecessary if you follow this method of use.

  1. At the start of the session delete all data. This can be done with a simple click on delete-all in the 'MISC' menu. If you also want to reset distance and time then go into the Track menu and do so, but this is not needed unless you are targeting a specific distance or time for the session.
  2. Use the device and enjoy your session, hopefully beat your personal bests. Turn the unit off at the end of the session, please remember to do this or your 40knot speeds will probably have been done in the van/car while driving home.
  3. At home take out the SD card and put it into your card reader, transfer the files to your computer. If set up correctly you will have two files, a SBN data file with all the data from the session, and a SPD file which is a simple text file that has your best runs on.
  4. Use the SBN file in which ever software you choose. I use GPS Results as I like the simple interface and the fact it is not javascript based. Friends of mine prefer GPS Action Replay which I do not find quite as intuitive to use. I know a lot of the sailors from Australia simply upload their file to GPS Speedsailing or GPS Team Challenge on the site. Alternatively you can use Sports Track Live to give a basic analysis of the software and a backup of your tracks online, scroll to the bottom of the page to see this software in action.
  5. Delete the file from the card if you want and replace it in the GT31 ready for the next session. 
  6. Repeat from 1, especially the part about enjoying your session.
If there is a problem with the SBN file or the card then the files contained with the unit itself can be used as a backup and transferred by connecting the unit to the computer and reading them with Navilink.

For the first 18months of use I have hundreds of different files, in several different formats and I never knew which ones to use. Now each session I simply have the SBN file and know that if there is a problem with this then the unit has the backup.

Another small thing to bear in mind is keeping the unit away from salt water. Very occasionally the unit may freeze, the only options when this happens is to either wait for the battery to discharge which can take days, or open it up and disconnect the battery. Mine has frozen once, because the Aquapaks are not 100% waterproof a couple of the screws had become corroded and ended up being 'cracked' out of the plastic case to open it up. Now I always put the unit in a small bag inside the Aquapak. Don't worry about this too much, the GT31 is water resistant so a small amount of water will not damage it, it was the salt that caused the corrosion.

I hope this helps anyone with the small intricacies of using these fantastic bits of kit.


  1. Why deleting the file from your sd-card? On a 2gb sd-card some thousands of sbn files can be saved.

    Perfect to hav a backup when you lose the sbn-file on your computer.

  2. I prefer to be able to copy or cut and paste easily from the card rather than having to look through 1000's to find the file. My backups are online at Sportstracklive.

    I had a card turn corrupt with files on some months ago so now always make sure it is clean/deleted. I only use a small old card now (128mb) as well. Thanks for reading and for your comment

  3. right dailybits
    only (if new flash is on device) misc>del>del all
    (that clears only data logger (internal memory)
    sd allways stays untouched, I caltulate, on 2Gb you can hold about 4-5 years of sessions
    (except lucky ones who have 300 windy days in year, hehehe)
    Best file for use is binary: SBP (SBN, BIN) never GPX
    Binary file can store lots of information and that helps to have exact calcualion of speed
    I use ONLY GPS Resuls.....

  4. In fairness I do say delete the file if you want....I do not say it is necessary.

    Its all personal preference. I lost a session due to a corrupt file making the card unreadable. Ever since I keep the card clean, then the files are a lot easier to organise on my computer rather than on the card.

    I agree Warrior, I like GPS results, I like the polar analysis part, and the ease of use for filters and basic analysis, although I am still learning this part.

  5. I always find I go faster when I forget to turn it on

  6. I am similar Andrew, but I go faster when I forget to turn it off.....on the way home ;-)

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. I don't know more about this gps for windsurfing, You have explain It so well and It is so useful to navigate the speed of wind surfing. You can also buy the high standard GPS for Yacht Tracker at budget price.

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