Each shield braces one oar.

My goal is to design oars strong yet flexible like a hunters bow.
I have made four oars so far. One cracked. On dry land not in the water. I asked an oar maker to make me a Viking oar. (I sent him a picture) he had about ten questions that I couldn't answer.
The oars are under great pressure while under sail so you can't hold one in your lap.
I had one of my oars with me on a 30 foot sail boat. When I tested my ideas of oars-as-out-riggers, my oar flexed with the surface of the water. I could push down as hard as I wanted and not push the blade under water.