1) Yes, it really is that slow. Most of that tier was given a slight speed reduction compared to the corresponding BB5, and the Alsace goes 42. This does leave the Jean Bart as a rather poor performer, but the only truly standout ship in that tier is the Shinano.
2) Setup depends on your preference. The NF-X sailor as gunner won't be worth much outside world at war, but if you're going to use it there, by god yes. As for engis, it's a balancing act. The question is whether you're more interested in overheat time or repair. If you're rushing in a lot, repair may be more useful, especially if you're doing high base supervetted engis. Still, I would not go below 5.