Biography

Jan Shearer Born 1958  Jan Shearer had good yachting pedigree. She was the daughter of well-known Dunedin sailor Ray Shearer and married yachtie Murray Jones, who was selected for five Olympic Games.

Shearer competed at three Olympics. In 1988 she and Fiona Galloway sailed in the women’s 470 at Pusan. They were by then an experienced combination, having finished ninth at the world championships as far back as 1984. In 1985 they were fifth in the world and in 1987 they won at Kiel Week, in the regatta preceding the world champs.

However Shearer and Galloway failed to fire at Pusan, finishing ninth in a field of 21, with 83.7 points. In their final three races they finished 7-7-6, but the damage had been done with poor results earlier in the week.

Then, after encouragement from Yachting New Zealand’s Hamish Wilcox, Shearer and Leslie Egnot, who had been a reserve in Pusan, teamed up, and they won the national 470 title four times - in 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1996.

At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics the pair claimed the silver medal in a field of 17. They finished with 36.7 points, behind only the Spaniards, Theresa Zabell and Patricia Guerra. Eight boats, including the New Zealanders, were disqualified in the first race for starting prematurely. After that Shearer and Egnot sailed consistently well and they moved from fourth to second in the final race, which they won. It was their third win of the regatta.

Shearer and Egnot attempted to better the feat four years later in the Olympic sailing event off Savannah, but Egnot was carrying a serious injury and their campaign faltered early. They eventually finished 16th of the 22 starters.

Though she continued sailing at a high level, Shearer was unable to qualify for another Olympics, though she and Melinda Henshaw went extremely close to earning selection in the 470 class in 2004.