If your boat is equipped that well for racing, then it probably has a smooth, clean, bottom and keel, and it should have good raw speed. Also, the 27 should be a lot easier for your wife to learn on than the 35. It sounds like you made a good choice.
The previous owner of my boat was a cruiser, and the bottom had a layer of old paint on it that was much too thick to suit an old racer. I did a bottom job, and it sails pretty well now, but not as well as I'd like. The next time, I'm planning on stripping it all off, so it'll be easier to sail it to its handicap or better. I bought the Landfall because it's a tough cruising boat with good overall performance. It'll never be a racer, but I'd like it to be able to sail up to it's design capability, so I can beat all those other "tough cruising boats with good overall performance."