William Ward, who had been in Hull to watch the departure ceremony for the Clipper yachts in the 2009-2010 race, had been in Hong Kong, “drumming up business”, he said.
His award was for services to the economy and to the GREAT Britain campaign, a Government promotional initiate aimed at “bringing the best of Britain to the world”.
It was a rare personal moment in the spotlight for a man who has worked behind the scenes to help make the Clipper race a global success.
It had been the brainchild of co-founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world, and is now on its 11th edition.
There are 712 people signed up to compete in the Clipper 2017-18 race, more than 5,000 people have taken part over the years, and Clipper Ventures employs more than 70 staff across its bases in Hampshire and in Sydney, Australia.
Mr Ward, of Horsham, West Sussex, said of his award: “It is a great honour. I am very patriotic and to especially to get this for work in trade is all unbelievable.”
The former deputy prime minister Sir Nick Clegg was keeping a low profile at the Palace as he was knighted by the Prince of Wales..
Sir Nick, who as Liberal Democrat leader formed a coalition with David Cameron’s Conservatives, and who campaigned heavily to remain in the European Union, chose not to have his picture taken on his big day.
His knighthood had been criticised by some Leavers when it was announced in the New Year Honours list.
In response, Sir Nick wrote on Twitter: “Grateful to have been included in the New Year Honours list in recognition of service over five years as DPM.”
He added: “The knighthood does not mean I will serve in the House of Lords. My aversion to unelected legislatures remains.”