Volvo Ocean Race - World champions visit Race Village

The Spanish national football team visit the Alicante race village, ahead of their European qualifying match against Scotland, in Alicante on 11/10/11 - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 - Spanish striker Fernando Torres revealed he would love to test his sea legs for real as the football World Cup winners visited the Alicante Race Village today.

But the multi-million pound Chelsea forward admitted one leg of the world’s toughest crewed yacht race would be enough after seeing the cramped conditions down below on cutting edge Volvo Open 70 race boat Camper.

The first leg of the elite race takes the fleet from Alicante to Cape Town in a gruelling 6,500 mile journey through the Atlantic – the first of nine legs in a 39,000-nm race that will not finish until July 2012 in Galway, Ireland.

'To sail on these boats would be a great experience but I think when I got to Cape Town I would be on the first plane home,' the 2010 World Cup winner said as he visited the Alicante Race Village just three days before it throws open the doors to the public on Friday.

'One leg would be enough – it would be difficult to do it until July.'

Torres was joined at the Alicante Race Village by his Spanish team mates including Xavi and David Villa of Barcelona and Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas ahead of their European Championship qualifier against Scotland tonight.

'It’s amazing to see how they have to survive without anything inside the boat.' Torres added. 'I was talking with one of the sailors and he told me they do it because they love it, just like we play football because we love it.

'There is going to be 11 of them on that boat until July – it’s amazing.'

The squad walked through the Alicante Race Village, which will open on Friday, October 14 and host the race until the start of the first leg on November 5.

The visit was a welcome boost for the Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand crew who are one of six teams contesting the race, along with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Groupama sailing team, Puma Ocean Racing powered by BERG Propulsion, Team Sanya and Team Telefónica. All are in the final stages of preparing for the round the world race starting with the first in-port race on October 29.

Camper skipper Chris Nicholson said: 'It was great to have the footballers on board. Five or six of them came down below and they were really interested. These guys are superstars and it was fantastic to be able to show them round Camper.'

Yesterday the Volvo Ocean Race played host to a press conference with coach Vicente del Bosque, who masterminded Spain’s World Cup triumph in South Africa last year, and players Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba and Thiago Alcantara.

The 30,000-capacity Estadio José Rico Pérez in Alicante, home of Hercules, will host the Group I qualifier, which kicks off this evening at 2045 local time.

Volvo Ocean Race website