Lithuania in the News
11th January 2009
Australian Lithuanians in Sydney Lead the World in Commencing Lithuania’s Millennium Celebrations
The Millennium Year is inaugurated in Vilnius with a spectacular light show.
Photo courtesy Lietuvos Rytas.
The year 2009 is Lithuania’s Millennium Year - 1000 years since the first mention of Lithuania’s name in historical records. For the year 2009 Lithuania’s capital Vilnius has been designated as a Cultural Capital of Europe, together with Linz in Austria. Many celebrations and events are planned in Lithuania for 2009 and for Vilnius in particular. The New Year 2009 was welcomed in Vilnius with a spectacular light show, designed by the German light artist Gert Hof. However Sydney Lithuanians welcomed in the Millennium Year nine hours earlier, together with the crew of the Millennium Odyssey yacht “Ambersail”, which reached Sydney on New Year’s Eve.
The yacht “Ambersail”, with a team of Lithuania’s leading yachtsmen on board, is helping celebrate the Millenium Year by circumnavigating the world and visiting 24 Lithuanian communities on five continents along the way. It set out from the port of Klaipeda in Lithuania on October 5, 2008. After a journey planned for 205 days it is scheduled to return to Klaipeda on Lithuania’s National Day, July 6, 2009. Its aim is to draw together all the Lithuanian communities dispersed around the world to celebrate their common Lithuanian heritage.
“Ambersail” reached Adelaide early on Xmas Day and departed for Sydney on Boxing Day. There was a crew change in Adelaide, with the fourth crew to sail the yacht until Auckland in New Zealand. The captain for the Adelaide – Sydney – Auckland leg is Naglis Nasvytis. The yacht had been six days late in reaching Adelaide, so it had to make every effort to reach Sydney in time for the New Year celebrations, which concluded the XXV Australian Lithuanian Days festivities in Sydney. The planned stopover in Melbourne had to be abandoned, but the winds were favourable and “Ambersail” reached Sydney on New Year’s Eve and moored at the prestigious Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour within Sydney Harbour.
Ambersail in Sydney Harbour. Photo courtesy .
Captain Naglis Nasvytis and his crew attended the New Year Ball with many other Australian Lithuanians, who were in Sydney celebrating the XXV Australian Lithuanian Days. He presented letters to Australian Lithuanian communities from President Adamkus and unfurled the Presidential flag, which “Ambersail” carries on its journey. On New Year’s Day many Australian Lithuanians visited “Ambersail” moored at Darling Harbour and observed the huge 4 metre Lithuanian flag proudly flown by the yacht. It was a fitting coincidence that January 1 is also Lithuania’s Flag Day, which commemorates the first raising 90 years ago of Lithuania’s flag on top of Gediminas Hill in Vilnius, after the reestablishment of Lithuania’s independence after World War I. On January 1 this year in Vilnius, Lithuanian soldiers in an impressive ceremony hoisted a huge Lithuanian flag on Gediminas Hill.
During the welcoming ceremony at Darling Harbour, the “Ambersail” sailors presented to the National Maritime Museum a beautiful statuette of a ship with sails of amber, the national jewel of Lithuania, and a DVD explaining the Millennium Odyssey mission. This DVD was shown by National Maritime Museum to visitors to the Museum.
“Ambersail” departed from Sydney on January 3 and was due to reach Auckland on January 9.

Further information on this website:
- Lithuania - Millennium Odyssey
- News - 07/12/08 Millennium Odyssey Yacht “Ambersail” on track to Australia
- News Archive - 12/10/08 A Round the World Millennium Odyssey to Celebrate Lithuania’s 1000 Year Jubilee