The Quadrimaran was invented in France in the mid-1980s by Daniel Tollet. It was an inspired design and a radical departure from traditional ship design by a man from outside the marine industry unconstrained by industry technical practices and education. Technical experts could see it would entail more structure and subsystems than other high-performance vessels, but its promise was that those penalties would be more than offset by its claimed low power and fuel consumption.
A prototype/demonstrator, Alexander, was built in 1990 and operated for five years carrying and impressing many hundreds of riders. Alexander performed beautifully and appeared to bear out what was claimed. Contracts for several Quadrimarans of different sizes came quickly, especially considering how conservative an industry this is. That was significantly due to Tollet's personal charisma and skill in selling riders on the dream of carrying passengers and freight over the water fast and in comfort, yet economically.
Great skepticism prevailed in some quarters, especially among naval architects knowledgeable about AMVs (advanced marine vehicles) and early-stage whole-ship design. At technical meetings, one Quadrimaran principal would comment, for example, "Why would you carry freight across the Atlantic at 38 knots on 230,000 horsepower (a reference to the planned Fastship Atlantic TG-770) when you could do it at 60 knots on only 65,000 horsepower?" Listeners would ask how this could be possible, and he would assert again that the Quadrimaran could do it, but would decline to explain.
Respected technical people were working with Tollet and his company and becoming convinced of the Quadrimaran's merit. Along with the contracts came engineers with experience in ship detail design and construction (very different from early-stage whole-ship design), or responsibilities for assessing and approving ships for service. Others were with engine and equipment suppliers. Their opinion that there was something unique and special about the Quadrimaran gave it credibility and influenced more people to accept the major claims made for it. Some dismissed the most extreme claims but still accepted the idea that the Quadrimaran was capable of unusually high performance - considerably less than was being claimed, perhaps, but high nevertheless.
In hindsight it is clear the skeptics were right. Results never met expectations, nor could they have. In reality, the Quadrimaran has aspects that inherently prevent it from achieving the characteristics and performance its inventor believed attainable. It cannot be built in a commercially useful size and actually perform as intended. Why this is so will be explained.
A crucial fact in the Quadrimaran's history is that Daniel Tollet and his close associates believed strongly that naval architects and engineers who had been immersed in working with the existing ship types would be unable to give the Quadrimaran the very different treatment they believed it required. (Their own educations and professional work were nontechnical.) Such people were excluded from the development of Quadrimaran designs, and the belated discovery of many fundamental technical problems can be attributed to this.
The company Tollet established had a number of names over the years, and other associated entities were created at times for various purposes. In this paper they are referred to collectively as QIH (Quadrimaran International Holdings) so as not to confuse things unnecessarily.
In 2004 QuadTech Marine LLC was established and acquired the Quadrimaran patent (US Patent No. 5,191,849) and related intellectual property from QIH. QuadTech laid out an extensive R&D program to close gaps in the technical background and address identified issues. In the process, additional information on earlier QIH projects and products was obtained and studied, which brought to light problems that significantly compromised the Quadrimaran's prospective performance and utility. The resulting much-reduced set of potential uses and users led the company to effectively stop pursuing Quadrimaran projects after 2009. (Note: The author was Chief Technology Officer for QuadTech Marine during 2006-9, studying the Quadrimaran and planning the R&D.)