Thirty years ago, my sister, Gale (so named because a gale hit Boston Harbor the night she was born), some friends and I stole a boat in the middle of the night and sailed it out of the Santa Barbara harbor. Suddenly we were becalmed and the current began pushing us toward the breakwall. With no running lights and no power, we were dead in the water. Out of that darkness a steel hull appeared: it was the local Coast Guard cutter. My father, stern-faced and displeased, stood in the bow.