You said, "Can't I just stay close to the coast as I sail home?" I ask myself.
Be very careful with thinking that by staying close to land you'll be safe. And be very careful with a boat
that MUST stay close to land to be safe.
It's the land that can bite you, especially in storm conditions. IF a vessel is not safe off shore and it's being sailed along the coast and a storm comes up you MUST head
in. That can lead to all kinds of problems. Trying to get into an unknown harbor in storm conditions is a bad bet. Problem is, you can't be sure you'll beat the storm 100% of the time. Get caught on a lee shore with a vessel that can't beat out to sea and it's trouble. IN ocean sailing sea room is your friend. Much like flying where altitude is your friend. Pilots don't head
toward the ground to be safe ONLY to land. Same with sailing only it's sea room not altitude that you want.
good luck in your search