Painted Fighting Lady Yellow, MadMax stood out from the rest of the boats in the show-sort of like an S-Class Mercedes in a showroom full of Smart Fortwos. Sandy, a fireplug of a man with a gentle nature to complement his aura of authority, greeted me in the lower cockpit, where the tender will live when the boat's underway. He spent 20 years at sea aboard container ships, seven of those as master. Helen, slim and charmingly forthright, grew up in a boating family. She bustled about the interior, removing the clutter that goes with exhibiting at a boat show. Both of them hail from Long Island, New York, and had sailed their 35-foot sloop along the East Coast, from Long Island Sound to the chilly waters of Maine, before they settled in San Francisco. In spite of the long absence from their hometown, neither one has lost the distinctive New York accent, nor are they timid about expressing their opinions. That's how MadMax got to be the way she is.