Adriana had a batten-less, roach-less, headboard-less main for our first three-year adventure. It was the antithesis of the sail in the picture which is designed for speed without regard to cost, longevity or maintenance.
For tweaking the last ounce of performance out of a mainsail it needs the roach to add sail area high up, to stabilise airflow over the head of the sail and to minimise tip vortices. I didn’t think much about that when I had my sail built.
My rationale was that I could afford to lose some mainsail area because Adriana tended towards too much weather helm, I wanted to keep things simple and low maintenance, and being able to drop the main off the wind without battens catching on the spreaders was a good thing. And if it was a design good enough for Lin and Larry Pardey it was good enough for me.
It was a lovely sail to handle, ten ounce soft Dacron, and it fulfilled all my expectations. My imaginary ideal cruising boat has in-mast furling which precludes horizontal battens so in a way it’ll be like going back to the future.