Aluminum nitride (AlN) is a promising substrate material for epitaxy of Al-rich III-nitrides to be employed, e.g., in deep-UV optoelectronic and high-power microwave devices. In this context, preparation of bulk AlN crystals by physical vapor transport (PVT) appears to be of most importance. In this work, seeded growth of AlN on (0001)-plane 6H-SiC substrates was investigated. SiC substrates with a diameter of 15 mm were used. AlN layers with thicknesses up to 3 mm were deposited at growth rates in the range of 10 to 40 μm/hour. Such templates provide large-area seeds, but they are often cracked, especially at thicknesses below 1mm. Besides cracks, other defects from the SiC seed propagate into the AlN layer and subsequently into the bulk AlN crystal. That is why, the aim of this work is to assess structural quality and defect content in thick AlN templates grown on (0001) plane SiC substrates. An optimum thickness-quality, the most appropriate growth stage for further use of the AlN template as a seed for subsequent PVT growth of bulk AlN growth, will be provided. We found that low growth rates mitigate crack propagation; slow cooling as well as optimization of the thermal field inside the crucible can prevent formation of new cracks after growth.