Case 19: In the photo below, the boats are approaching the starting line to start, and the mark is surrounded by navigable water.
Does rule 18 apply? If not, what rules do apply?

No. The Section C (rules 18-20) preamble clearly states: "Section C rules do not apply at a starting mark surrounded by navigable water or at its anchor line from the time boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them." Thus, at the moment this photo was taken, John de Boer (left) was entitled to stick his nose in to windward of Randy Park (white hull with 50E numbers), but at his own risk. John will have no rights to mark-room and will have to keep clear of Randy (leeward). However, any course alterations that the latter may wish to make, will in turn be limited by rule 16.1 which requires Randy to give John room to keep clear.

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