When I built my first offshore boat, a 36, I had 500 sq ft of hull surface. Friends building 44 footers nearby had over 1,000 sq ft of hull surface, I had 5,000 lbs of ballast they had 10,000. I had 600 sq ft of sail, they has 1200, etc etc. Every expense they had was double what I had. Their increase in useable interior space was not all that great. I left for the South Pacific, they never left. Some never left the land.
A 44 footer is huge. Give it a miss , find a 36 footer, and go cruising.
Actually a Mercer 44 is not a large boat. It probably has less interior space than a modern 35 footer like a Catalina or Hunter. Its' a long, lean, head turning machine. When you sail it into a new harbor heads will turn. Can't say that for a modern boat. You don't buy this boat just for the interior. Although I'm not a big fan of centerboards for ocean crossings but I could make an exception with this design.
I agree with what you are saying about labor and cost but that only applies when you are comparing similar type designs.
I think it's sad to scrap this boat.