With that said, the actual reason multihulls and cat rigs came into my head was the only two boats I can think of offhand where ease of maintenance got top billing in the marketing materials:
Wyliecat Performance Yachts: Wyliecat 39
Chris White Designs Explorer 44
Wyliecats in particular make a compelling case. No standing rigging whatsoever. Less than half the running rigging. One third as many winches. No bowsprit, no chainplates, no genoa tracks means few stressed deck fittings. No brightwork whatsoever. Counting against it perhaps is the semicustom nature of the boat and a vanishingly small owner community. Yet, it seems entirely plausible to me that this boat would cost half as much time and money to maintain as a J/120 or an X-119 or a C&C 115. What do you think?
BTW, I am not expecting a mid-30' performance cruiser to be as easy to maintain as a Honda Accord. My point is that before the Japanese started building cars, nobody thought that a car could be so easy to maintain. The Japanese gave reliability top billing at the cost of more traditional features, put some smart engineers and managers on the problem, and threatened to put the rest of the world's automotive industry out of business before they could figure out how to compete on reliability. As far as I can tell, few people have even tried to do that with sailboats. If they have, I was hoping someone would know who it was and point me in their direction! I have trouble believing that it's not possible -- merely that we don't have enough imagination.