there was an 11.6 ("Gandalf") extensively cruising the western S-Pacific in the 80ies. very nice boat, build probably on the light side I'd guess, fast & I presume lively. suited the guy (a tough looking american) well. AFAIK a wellknown (& well-loved) design in NZ from different builders.
BTW: "blue water
cruiser" means very different things to different people! Many consider anything smaller/lighter/with-less-storage-capacity than an HR 53, an Amel 54, etc. as totally unsuitable.
also in the 80ies we met an american couple circumnavigating on a Farr 1104 (open transoms were considered deathtraps in these days...) & they'd rofl when asked about the open transom being a problem (quote:"...if we ever write a book we are going to call it 'what doyou do in a following sea'...").
Last but not least: it's all a question of budget!