I Survived: Caught on Tape: Dom

Waiting for Rescue

"A kite boat is simply a boat that is purely propelled on its own by kites," Dom says. "This kite will drag this boat through the water. It's been specially designed to do so. My intended route was from St. John's in Newfoundland to Exmouth on the south coast of England."

Just five days into his trip, the weather turned bad, but Dom thought he could ride it out and make it to safe waters.

"This was a very, very hairy situation," he says. "If you can imagine just looking out at the foaming angry seas. I was in the middle of nowhere. I felt very, very alone, and I was pretty scared. We started losing power. We lost all satellite communications, and we lost all navigation equipment. We were basically in pretty bad shape."

Dom and his boat, the Little Murka, were being battered by 85-mile-an-hour winds and 60-foot waves. Dom began documenting his ordeal with his battery-powered waterproof video camera.

Dom: We got hit by a massive wave. It blew me from the front. I've just been fighting for the last two hours just to keep the boat alive. We've basically lost about 70 percent of our capability. None of my radar beacons are working anymore. It's making like a dying noise.

"It just got worse and worse, and we started to capsize," Dom remembers. "We would go completely all the way around and then come back up again. You may capsize up to eight times on a big wave. It's really bad when you've begun capsizing. Things have gone pretty wrong."

Dom: This place is nasty. That was like a massive wave. I'm quite scared actually.

Dom: Nightmare scenario. It's 3:00 in the morning. A big wave came in the back of the boat. I'm soaked. It's really a dangerous scenario. I've had enough. We've lost all power. We're now in a stress situation, waiting for a rescue.

"I was able to send out a distress call to emergency service to come and rescue me because things were going from bad to worse," Dom says. "At the height of the storm, we were capsized by a massive wave, and we didn't come back up again. I had to swim out of the cabin because we'd completely flooded. I clung to the top of the boat for six hours. I was ready to give up. I remember looking up and seeing this absolutely colossal wave bearing down on us. It was going to kill us. And then our miracle happened: our boat had come back up again. I immediately got in the boat. I pumped all the water out. Even though I got back on the boat, I was still in the same nightmare scenario."

Dom: I'm just waiting for a rescue, and it can't come quick enough. This is my last recording. I just want all my folks to know I love them all so much. I'm sorry I've put them through all this worry. If I make it through this, things are going to be different.

"At that point, you were basically saying goodbye," Dr. Phil surmises.

"Yeah, in the height of the storm, it could have gone either way," Dom says. "We were really up against it. I had never been in a stress situation in that big of seas before. It was very marginal, and I wanted to get something down, so that if they found my boat and my body, at least my family would have some sort of record of what went on."

"You've used the word ‘we' a lot. Who's we?" Dr. Phil asks.

Dom smiles. "Well, being a solo sailor, the boat, you always speak in terms of we. It becomes your friend, and because you've got no one else to speak to, my Little Murka was my traveling companion."

Dom explains that his boat was found one year later, washed up on a beach in Ireland, with his camera and footage inside. "It went all the way across the Atlantic on her own, and landed in Ireland, and set off a beacon, and let me know where she was, and I came and got her," he says.

"OK, so it sounds to me like she knew what she was doing!" Dr. Phil jokes. "You're obviously an amazing seaman. Have you been back on the water?"

[AD]"I was yacht racing solo within three days of being rescued. I didn't want it to become a demon. It was a pretty powerful experience," he says.

"It's kind of like falling off a horse, right? You need to get back on," Dr. Phil says.

"I think sometimes the most challenging days in your life, if you look at them right, you can turn them into really making you stronger, and I think every bad experience " and I've had quite a few in my life " I've always come out a stronger person, and I think it's the way you look at things. Turn it around, and it'll be your strength. That's sort of my philosophy, where I come from," Dom says.

"You bet," Dr. Phil agrees.