not to argue, but what i saw at the event doesn't match your view - my own team got plenty of coverage without being first to the beach. in fact, cat in the hat got a ton of coverage during the tybee events - those guys were an interesting story and got attention. honest, getting your sponsor some exposure isn't just about finish position - it isn't even *mostly* about finish position. every sponsor is different. figure out what they want and there's a way to deliver. it takes some work and you have to have the right mindset.
regarding budget, a relationship with a loft isn't just about purchasing sails - TB had a very substantial budget for graphics, and nigel and alex did an incredible job designing a beautiful boat that stood out; jib, main, kite and vinyl for the hulls. they even had some nice touches on the boards and rudders. if you have an arrangement with someone to trade recognition for that kind of work, your budget is better off. and that's just one example.
happy to talk offline any time.