To build a high-end, light yet stiff flat-out racer capable of competing and winning under the IMS Rule takes considerable skill in composite engineering. Because everyone at NEB works closely with winning racers (if we don't build them, sooner or later we modify them or race-prep them for "battle"), we are constantly in touch with how combinations of high-tech materials and building techniques perform in the real world of competition. Virago (now renamed Ptarmigan) has proved a consistent winner since she was launched in 1996, winning the IMS championship in the 2000 SORC and third in class at Key West Race Week, winning the Onion Patch trophy in the Bermuda race and winning the IMS Mid Atlantic Championship in 2002.
After conducting a number of tests on test panels and structural members featuring various combinations of materials and building processes, NEB's engineers and composite specialists built Virago using pre-preg carbon fiber and an Airlite foam core. The resulting hull, deck, structural members, and furniture components are light and stiff, and have withstood the high stresses of an active buoy- and ocean-racing program.