I painted this oil in 1993. This painting shows a very good use for the space over the oar sails. A fine place to sleep. I was standing with my back to the mast while painting. Notice also that the oar sails are lashed under the oars, around a rope that runs the full length of the ship along the oar holes on the outside of the ship and end up being lashed to the braces on the sides. The tarp you see half covering the ax handle is the edge of the oar sails.
What you see here is the oars locked into the correct position so the blade of the oar skims along the surface of the water giving lift.